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Ben Askren thinks GSP would have beat Khabib Nurmagomedov had he not retired

Ben Askren assesses the difference between Georges St-Pierre’s and Khabib Nurmagomedov’s wrestling.

UFC 217: Bisping v St-Pierre Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

There’s no doubt that Georges St-Pierre and Khabib Nurmagomedov are two of the greatest MMA wrestlers of all time, but who would have come out on top had they faced off in the Octagon?

Unfortunately, we’ll never know. St-Pierre was originally rumored to collide with Khabib in a UFC super fight, but that bout fell through after ‘Rush’ announced his retirement earlier this year.

Speaking to UFC fighter turned commentator Dan Hardy in a recent interview, former Bellator and ONE FC welterweight champion Ben Askren, who is looking to cement his own legacy as one of the greatest wrestlers in MMA, analyzed the difference between both fighter’s styles.

“How’s his [St-Pierre] wrestling for wrestling? I don’t know,” Askren said, per The Body Lock’s Abhinav Kini. “How’s his wrestling for MMA? Really, really freaking good,” Askren told Dan Hardy in an interview last month. “I think he has great timing. Like his timing on the punches into takedowns, you can argue that it’s the best ever.”

“I would argue that Khabib does a better job staying on top and certain other aspects of wrestling. But as far someone who uses punches into takedowns, there’s not a lot of people who are better than him at that, if any.”

While Askren is a huge admirer of both men’s wrestling, ‘Funky’ believes St-Pierre would have beat Khabib had he decided not to retire from competition.

“I would lean towards GSP for sure. The one thing that’s hard, if you watch GSP, he definitely gets tired and when he gets tired, he relies more on his ability to go get the takedown and hold them down and then they can’t do anything against him.”

“We’ve never seen him against someone who — you can say Josh Koscheck was a high-level wrestler — but Josh Koscheck didn’t always use his wrestling in MMA. He wasn’t like a Khabib or me who someone that uses a lot of wrestling. So we never got to see GSP versus that super high-level wrestler so it’s always curious to me how it would have turned out.”

Now that St-Pierre’s retirement is official, ‘The Eagle’ is expected to defend his lightweight strap against the winner of this weekend’s highly anticipated interim title bout between Dustin Poirier and Max Holloway, set to feature as the headlining bout for UFC 236 at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.

As for Askren, it’s been reported that the undefeated welterweight has verbally agreed to a bout with Jorge Masvidal, who recently knocked out Darren Till to cement his ranking in the top-five. Expect an official fight announcement in the coming days.