There’s little doubt that Khabib Nurmagomedov is greatest lightweight fighter of his generation. The Dagestani retired recently with a flawless record of 29-0 and the UFC’s lightweight title.
Despite Dana White’s best efforts, ‘The Eagle’ seems content to never fight again. Instead, he’s signalled his intention to be one of the best coaches, corners and hype-men in the business. Nurmagomedov has already appeared in the corner of his family members and countrymen alike at both the UFC and Bellator.
Yesterday he continued his trend of pumping up a fellow Dagestanis when he announced that Zabit Magomedsharipov is the “best featherweight in the world.”
Nurmagomedov’s opinion differs from the UFC ranking committee. They currently have Magomedsharipov ranked 3rd in the division behind Brian Ortega, Max Holloway and champion Alexander Volkanovski.
Magomedsharipov is undefeated since joining the UFC in 2017. His overall record stands at 18-1, with the only blemish coming thanks to a submission loss in his fifth pro fight. In the UFC he’s had flashy wins over Mike Santiago, Sheyman Moraes, Kyle Bochniak, Brandon Davis and Jeremy Stephens.
His last fight was all the way back in November 2019, when he beat Calvin Kattar by unanimous decision.
Magomedsharipov was due to face Yair Rodriguez in a sure-fire action fight, but Rodriguez had to withdraw due to injury.
The current order of the featherweight rankings will be tested in when Volkaonvski defends his title versus Ortega (he has to coach opposite him on TUF first, though). Holloway, fresh off of a decisive win over Kattar, is currently without an opponent.
Holloway almost faced off with Magomedsharipov’s number one booster back in 2018.
At UFC 223 Nurmagomedov was scheduled to face Tony Ferguson, but the MMA Gods hate that fight so it never happened (after Ferguson was injured tripping on some TV cables).
The UFC was forced to scramble for a late replacement. Then UFC featherweight champion Holloway signed up for the opportunity. However, at the weigh-ins Holloway was pulled from the fight for medical concerns. With Holloway out the UFC scrambled again, considering Paul Felder and Anthony Pettis before landing on Al Iaquinta.
Numragomedov beat Iaquinta for the 26th win of his career and the vacant UFC lightweight championship.