The surprising retirement of Khabib Nurmagomedov might have robbed fight followers of a monumental showdown between the undefeated Russian and Kamaru Usman, who took one other step towards welterweight GOAT status at UFC 261.
Usman has now received 14 straight fights within the talent-rich welterweight fold, yet one more than Nurmagomedov claimed in his complete UFC profession – and after ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ enhanced his glowing status even additional together with his second spherical knockout of Jorge Masvidal in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday night time, some followers have been left questioning what might need transpired had Khabib not pursued his retirement papers.
Nurmagomedov first introduced that he was stepping away from the cage following final 12 months’s title defence in opposition to Justin Gaethje, and resisted Dana White’s unceasing marketing campaign designed to tempt the then-UFC light-weight champion to reverse his resolution.
A glimmer of hope for White, as effectively as Nurmagomedov’s prolonged fanbase, got here when rumors as soon as once more raised their head of a possible fight with fellow UFC icon Georges St-Pierre – however these now seem useless within the water.
However, with Usman now confirmed to be the best welterweight fighter within the sport – and GSP’s true successor at 170lbs – some followers have been left questioning what might need been.
Makes me snort the way in which @TeamKhabib has been retired for six+ months, however nonetheless tendencies when the UFC is on. Remember that Usman as soon as mentioned: “I’d by no means fight Khabib, that’s my brother. It’s only a mutual respect”Let Khabib be and simply take pleasure in the brand new P4P king! pic.twitter.com/swUkFkZX4u
— AJ (@aj_jsj19) April 25, 2021
Usman clearly the best in the world right now while Khabib is the undisputed GOAT. Shame that fight won’t happen
— Filipe Orlando (@MrFilipeOrlando) April 25, 2021
Usman says he’s the best P4P fighter on the planet.With Khabib retired, I think you can make a very, very strong case for that argument.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 25, 2021
“Makes me snort the way in which [Khabib] has been retired for six+ months, however nonetheless tendencies when the UFC is on,” wrote one fan on social media. “Remember that Usman as soon as mentioned: ‘I’d by no means fight Khabib, that’s my brother. It’s only a mutual respect’. Let Khabib be and simply take pleasure in the brand new P4P king!
“Usman clearly the best in the world right now while Khabib is the undisputed GOAT. Shame that fight won’t happen,” added one other.
ESPN’s UFC insider Ariel Helwani additionally co-signed Usman’s claims that he’s the best pound-for-pound (energetic) fighter on the planet.
“Usman says he’s the best P4P fighter on the planet,” wrote Helwani. “With Khabib retired, I think you can make a very, very strong case for that argument.”
While Nurmagomedov’s retirement seems set in stone, he had lengthy signalled an curiosity in difficult himself in opposition to St-Pierre – the best fighter in welterweight historical past.
However, with Usman now occupying the function of the clear, standout 170lbs competitor on the planet one wonders if Khabib might have been slightly untimely the declaration central to his retirement: there have been no challenges left which actually him.
Both Usman and Khabib are managed by Dominance MMA head Ali Abdelaziz too – the person who was central to arranging a fight between Khabib and one other of his shoppers, Gaethje, final 12 months.
And one wonders if this may be sufficient proof for White to restart his marketing campaign of persuasion.