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John McCarthy says Khabib Nurmagomedov retired ‘too early’ to be considered the GOAT

John McCarthy reveals his pick for MMA’s GOAT.

UFC Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Induction Ceremony
Khabib Nurmagomedov is the former UFC lightweight champion.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

First Anthony Pettis, then Dana White, and now Big John McCarthy.

All three MMA personalities have called into question Khabib Nurmagomedov’s GOAT status following ‘The Eagle’s’ recent induction into the UFC Hall of Fame, with McCarthy agreeing with White that Nurmagomedov retired too early to be considered the best.

Khabib’s dominance isn’t in question, with McCarthy admitting that Nurmagomedov is the most dominant fighter to step foot in the UFC. But the fact remains that he only defended his lightweight title three times and didn’t stick around for long when he was at the top, opting to retire in the prime of his career following his father's death.

Jon Jones, by comparison, defended his light heavyweight eleven times and effectively cleared out the division multiple times during his multi-year reign as champion. That’s why McCarthy considers Jones, not Khabib, the undisputed GOAT.

“I don’t disagree with him at all [Dana White claiming Khabib isn’t the MMA GOAT],” McCarthy said on a recent episode of Weighing In (h/t Sportskeeda). “I think that he did retire too early. I’ve always said the most dominant fighter I’ve seen in the cage has been Khabib. He dominated great fighters, 10-8 rounds, consistently at times, [but] Jon Jones is the most talented fighter that I’ve seen in the cage.”

“Here’s the big difference: Jon Jones has had 15 title fights. How many title fights does Khabib have? That’s a huge difference, and I think that’s what Dana is talking about. I think Jon Jones is [the best ever].”

Khabib (29-0 MMA, 13-0 UFC) retired in 2020 following his submission victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. He is widely considered the greatest UFC lightweight champion of all time and one of the most dominant wrestlers in MMA history.