Georges St-Pierre doesn’t think there’s any such thing as the ‘greatest of all time’ but, after watching Khabib Nurmagomedov retire with a perfect 29-0 record following his second round submission of Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, ‘Rush’ admits it’s hard to deny Khabib’s spot among the all-time greats.
Speaking to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani in a recent interview, St-Pierre gave his take on the pound-for-pound discussion before hailing Nurmagomedov one of the greatest fighters in UFC history.
“There’s many guys that have been the greatest fighter of all-time,” St-Pierre said (h/t Alexander K. Lee of MMA Fighting). “It’s an impossible thing to be, the greatest fighter of all-time. We all have moments that we shine, that we share that greatest of all-time. Khabib, tonight, what we saw in his performance was the greatest of all-time. Anderson Silva when he knocked out Vitor Belfort was the greatest of all-time. Jon Jones when he beat Daniel Cormier or [Alexander] Gustafsson also, was the greatest of all-time. [Israel] Adesanya, when he beat Paulo Costa last time, it was the greatest of all-time. Everybody, B.J. Penn had his moment when he beat Matt Hughes, everybody has their own moment, their lights, their moment that they shine, but like everything in life everything has a beginning and everything has an end.
“We all have our window of being the greatest of all-time. Everybody that has a flawless performance has that title, greatest of all-time, but it’s just a fugazi. It’s something that appears and will disappear in a second. When your performance is over, it disappears, because that moment will never happen again. The universe has changed and it’s just a fugazi. I don’t believe in this debate. It’s a silly way to look at things in a way. There’s many guys that can claim to be the greatest of all-time and for sure Khabib is one of them, 100 percent, especially after what he had done tonight.”
St-Pierre also thinks Nurmagomedov made the right decision to retire on top and says the former UFC lightweight champion has the whole world ahead of him at just 32-years-old.
“What a great way to finish a career,” GSP said of Khabib’s post-fight retirement. “Now the doors are all open for him. He finished on top, his stock is at its pinnacle. Now he can do whatever he wants. Sponsorship, publicity, open a school if he wants, acting, whatever he wants to do. The possibilities are endless. What a great role model. What a great way to finish a career.
“It was just an incredible journey and a lot of fighters in our sport have a tendency to finish too late their career, so they’re stuck going down and then it closes doors for many opportunities that a lot of elite athletes could have as an after-career. Khabib has a choice now. He’s a perfect role model for the community.”
Khabib didn’t reveal his plans for the future but will be taking some much needed time out to grieve the loss of his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who tragically passed away earlier this year.