Current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s coach Javier Mendez believes the UFC will try to set up a rematch with Conor McGregor before “The Eagle” retires from MMA. Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA) has made it clear that he has intentions to retire after his 30th pro fight, ideally hanging up his gloves at 30-0. “Notorious” announced his retirement from the sport in June, however it is largely believed that McGregor will fight again.
In a recent interview with Express Sport, the American Kickboxing Academy head coach said that he believes UFC president Dana White wouldn’t let the fight between Nurmagomedov and McGregor slip away before The Eagle retires.
“If I’m the UFC and I’m the president, I’m not going to let that fight off the table,” Mendez told the outlet. “Especially if Conor wants to fight and Khabib is still the champion. Then you can make that fight. I wouldn’t let them [not fight]. That’s my job, right? To make the most money for the company.”
Although The Eagle dominated most of the fight with McGregor in 2018 and finished the Irishman in the fourth round, Mendez understands that there is a lot of interest in the rematch. To date, the UFC 229 event headlined by Nurmagomedov and McGregor is the highest selling PPV in the promotion’s history and the rematch would likely sell well.
He said, “Let’s put it this way: If that makes the most money out of anybody, then that means it’s the most interesting fight people want to see. Correct? Obviously I would think everybody still wants to see that fight. Otherwise, why would they pay for it. That’s why I think the UFC would do that.”
Nurmagomedov is scheduled to defend his lightweight title against interim lightweight champ Justin Gaethje on October 24 at UFC 254. Should The Eagle get past Gaethje, he would then look toward what may be his final fight inside the Octagon.
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Mendez Says That a Fight Between Nurmagomedov & Georges St-Pierre Would Determine the GOAT
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The World lost a great MMA Coach & Martial Artist, Russia lost a great humanitarian who loved his People and was driven to always help those in need🙏 A Family lost a great Father and provider, @khabib_nurmagomedov lost a Mentor ,Coach&Father who loved him unconditionally…and I lost a great friend and fellow Coach who I will always remember & feel privileged to have been accepted as Family!!God He is with you now so I know He is in a good place🙏 Rest In Peace @abdulmanap.nurmagomedov #greatfather #greatestmartialartist
A fight Nurmagomedov has expressed interest in for his potential final match is against former middleweight and welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. At 39 years old, “GSP” is currently retired from MMA, however he has shown interest in fighting The Eagle in the past.
Mendez believes that a fight between Nurmagomedov and GSP would determine the greatest fighter of all time. In a recent interview with Hablemos MMA, Mendez was asked if the fight would determine the GOAT. He said via MMA Junkie, “Yeah, I think so, and so does Khabib. The person that beats GSP will be the best of all time; I think so.”
Nurmagomedov & GSP Both Have Solid Claims to GOAT Status
As the conversation is very subjective, there are a handful of names that are included in the GOAT conversation, including Nurmagomedov and St-Pierre’s.
Both fighters have a strong claim to GOAT status already. The Eagle is undefeated and is currently riding a dominate 12-fight win streak. Nurmagomedov won the lightweight strap in April 2018 when he bested Al Iaquinta by unanimous decision and he has subsequently defend the belt twice, defeating both Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier via submission.
On the other hand, Georges St-Pierre (26-2 MMA) has had one of the most illustrious careers MMA has ever seen. He was the reigning welterweight champion for five years and he defended the title nine times in a row. St-Pierre also won the middleweight championship in 2017 when he defeated then-champ Michael Bisping. GSP vacated the middleweight title shortly after the victory and announced his retirement.