From a superficial look of all of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s accomplishments in the UFC, it is pretty clear why is considered as one of the top 155-pound fighters in the world today. With a current record of 26-0, he was able to lay a beating on some of the UFC’s un-ranked lightweights.
But a closer look at “The Eagle’s” record would show quite a fascinating fact. As pointed out by MMA Imports, Khabib has actually fought and beaten just one top-ten ranked lightweight contender in his six years with the UFC, and that is Edson Barboza. On top of that, he’s the only fighter in the history of Combat Sports to ever win a “World Title” by beating someone not ranked in the top 10.
Before UFC 223, Khabib was at number two in the rankings, while Barboza was situated at the number-four spot. With Tony Ferguson and Eddie Alvarez and number one and three respectively, the rest of the standings were composed of Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, Kevin Lee, Nate Diaz, Michael Chiesa and James Vick at number ten.
After Saturday night, the new rankings show Ferguson sliding down to number two, and Vick falling down one spot to number 11, as he was replaced by Khabib’s challenger on Saturday night, Al Iaquinta.
In reality, Khabib is not to blame for this, since he was originally slated to face Ferguson, who fell out of the fight due to injury. All of the other contenders, on the other hand, have fights booked, such as Alvarez and Gaethje, who will be fighting this weekend in Glendale, Arizona.
From his end, Khabib stated that he intends to turn the tide around as the new UFC lightweight champion. Unlike Conor McGregor who never defended his lightweight title a single time, the 29-year-old Dagestani plans to keep himself active this year, as he plans to return after the holy period of Ramadan from mid-May to mid-June.
“I want to stay focused. Next month is Ramadan coming,” Khabib said during the UFC 223 post-fight presser on Saturday night in Brooklyn. “After Ramadan, I want to begin training, come back this year and defend this title.”
As for his next opponent, Khabib has been targeting a fight against McGregor, whom he still feels he has unfinished business with. It is a fight that many observers deem to be a monumental one, whether it is held in Moscow, Russia, Dublin, Ireland, or in the United States.
Khabib agrees that the fight will be big, that he is even open to doing a “world tour” just to promote the fight.
“Make world tour everywhere, Tokyo, Moscow, Dublin, Los Angeles, Rio,” Khabib said. “Big world tour, promote this fight and fight end of the year, biggest arena in the world, Madison Square Garden. Why not? Or maybe in Zaire or Philippines.”
But before this materializes, McGregor would first need to attend a court date in New York on June 14th to settle the charges he is facing from his UFC 223 media day rampage.