Michael Bisping doesn’t think Khabib Nurmagomedov belongs in the GOAT conversation because he retired too early and didn’t defend his UFC lightweight title enough.
Bisping has a tremendous amount of respect for Khabib and his accomplishments but doesn’t think ‘The Eagle’s’ title reign compares to the likes of Anderson Silva or Georges St-Pierre.
Nurmagomedov, as dominant as he was, only defended his lightweight title three times, whereas Silva and GSP have eighteen title defenses between them and ruled their respective divisions for a combined twelve years.
“Yeah, he took himself out of it,” Bisping said of Khabib during a recent appearance on True Geordie’s Pain Game podcast (h/t SportsKeeda). “And if you look, yeah, he didn’t fight the best until the end of his career. When you compare that with GSP or Jones or Anderson, their run against world-class competition was far longer. But for Khabib, I know it was because of his father passing away, and he made a promise to his mother. So, it’s different circumstances.”
“But for those reasons, I think when you look at the resumes, even though he was undefeated, the resumes don’t really stack up. And I say that with tremendous respect to Khabib – Far being from me to downplay his career because I would never dream of doing that.”
Khabib retired at 29-0 following his submission win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 259. The victory saw Nurmagomedov overtake Jon Jones to become the No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He has since been removed from the UFC rankings.