Khabib Nurmagomedov stood the test of time.
A Perfect Record
The former UFC Champion never experienced a defeat in his 29-fight career, nor was he offered much adversity inside the cage. The prowess behind ‘The Eagle’ lied behind his excellent wrestling pedigree.
With his fighting mentality, Khabib attempts to submerge his opponents in the ‘deepest ocean’ and then ‘drown’ them. This would be the evident theme from the beginning to the end of his career. Khabib would ride off into the sunset after submitting Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.
Unless he comes back, we’ll never know what the Dagestani’s kryptonite really was.
How Would Askren Fare Against Khabib?
However, Ben Askren believes, in his prime, he could been the first person to defeat Khabib. The former US Olympian thinks he could have posed a problem to ‘The Eagle’ on the wrestling mat.
“We would grapple and I think I would be better than him.” Askren told Lex Fridman. “I feel weird saying this because people go like ‘yeah, you’re full of shit.'”
“No one outgrappled [Khabib]. Nobody did. Maybe I’m wrong on this but if we look at the best possible candidates, I’m definitely one of them. Obviously, I have a small size advantage too.”
While Khabib did have a good strength of schedule heading into his last fights, such as Justin Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, they were primarily strikers. Nurmagomedov neutralized them on the ground with ease.
Askren pointed this out, stating Khabib never really tested himself against great wrestlers inside the Octagon.
“He never, unfortunately, fought any real high-level wrestlers. I was actually disappointed with Justin Gaethje’s wrestling was. Justin Gaethje had some solid success [in college wrestling], but his wrestling was really bad in that fight. He was like seventh place, he was definitely All-American, he was lower though.
“I would like to see how he dealt with someone who I thought, ‘oh man, this guy’s a really high-level wrestler’… I would like to see him in that situation and see how he does.”
The Dream Fight
Ben Askren would be more than happy to see how good Khabib really is, when it comes to the grappling department.
The former ONE and Bellator Champion campaigned for a fight with Khabib, in his entrance to the UFC. Before his debut, Askren would say he would ride the back of the Russian, shouting ‘USA! USA!’.
This would never come into fruition however, with the two being on entirely different roads and also weight divisions. Khabib would retire on top and ‘Funky’ would fall twice before calling it a career.
Open To The Challenge
Just because he put the gloves down, doesn’t mean he would pass on the opportunity to wrestle Khabib though.
“If someone said ‘hey Ben, Khabib wants to roll with you. Okay, I’m there tomorrow. Sounds like a blast, let’s go.’
“I would probably try single legs and stuff. Honestly, I don’t have the slightest clue. I’d have to feel him out. But, single legs are my best takeaway.”
Do you agree with Ben Askren’s analysis of Khabib Nurmagomedov? Would ‘Funky’ stand a chance against him?