Khabib Nurmagomedov was a better pound-for-pound fighter than Jon Jones.
That’s according to “The Eagle,” who did not register as many title defenses as the former light heavyweight champion, but turned in far more dominant performances during his run as 155-pound kingpin, putting away top contenders like Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje.
Jones barely squeaked by Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes.
“For me it’s like, 30-0, 29-0, or 15-0, it’s nothing. I fight and I showed the world,” Nurmagomedov told ESPN (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “And from nowhere, I came here and took all of everything. At that moment, I was the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter. This, nobody can say nothing. It was not Kamaru Usman, it was not Jon Jones, who fights very close fights with all these light heavyweights like Ovince Saint Preux, like Thiago (Santos), Anthony Smith, Dominick Reyes. These guys, [Jones] showed versus them very bad performances, and everything that happened with doping. But what about me? I was mauling everybody.”
Everybody except Gleison Tibau, where “The Eagle” went 0-13 on takedowns.
Nurmagomedov, 32, retired from competition with a 29-0 record and little to prove in the 155-pound division. In his absence, newly-crowned lightweight champion Charles Oliveira will move on to defend his hardware against top contender Dustin Poirier later this year.
As for Jones, who turns 34 in just a few days, he’s been out of action for more than a year, content to play the waiting game while UFC sorts through some of its 265-pound clutter. That said, winning a heavyweight title may be the counter to Khabib’s pound-for-pound argument.
Get to work, Mr. Schaefer.