Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Georges St-Pierre is for all the marbles, according to American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) head coach Javier Mendez.
Although the much-talked-about bout is still a fantasy matchup at this point, UFC president Dana White has given Khabib the all-clear if he gets past Justin Gaethje and unifies the lightweight titles at UFC 254.
Mendez believes Nurmagomedov needs to fight St-Pierre for his legacy and to cement himself as the greatest mixed martial arts fighter of all time.
“Yeah, I think so, and so does Khabib,” Mendez said on Monday’s episode of “Hablemos MMA” (via MMA Junkie). “The person that beats GSP will be the best of all time ... I think so. Yeah, it’s a big possibility. He might do that because all the times that I was with him and his dad, they’ve talked about those things: two more fights, 30-0.
“They want to a legacy fight, then be done and help the other guys that are starting their fighting careers,” he added.
“He doesn’t want that fight for money and that’s what his father wanted. He told me, ‘That’s what my father wants. What do you think coach?’ And I was like, ‘You know, if that’s what your father wants, we can do it, and if that’s what you want as well.’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, I want to do it for my father, so I’m like, ‘Let’s do it.’”
Although Nurmagomedov plans to retire after his 30th fight, Mendez believes the undefeated UFC lightweight champion could continue fighting into his mid-thirties if he wanted to.
“But if he doesn’t want to end his career he can jump back in there. He’s young, he’s only 31, so he still has a more years of fighting. I’m not going to tell him he has to fight. I’m going to go with what he wants to do.”
St-Pierre, for his part, is non-committal on the matchup but has hinted at a comeback for the right fight.
UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje is scheduled to take place on Oct. 24 at a to be determined location.