Daniel Cormier Claims Khabib Would Be UFC Champ ‘Right Now’, How He Compares To Islam Makhachev

The former UFC Champ says there is a difference in 'dominance' between Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Khabib Talks Islam Vs Poirier Ufc 302 Judge
Khabib Talks Islam Vs Poirier Ufc 302 Judge - Image credit @khabib_nurmagomedov Instagram

Khabib Nurmagomedov or Islam Makhachev? UFC fans are split on who the better fighter is.

The undefeated Nurmagomedov made quite the argument for himself, going 29-0 before retiring at 32 years old with successful three title defenses under his belt, including a submission win over Conor McGregor. Nurmagomedov’s longtime teammate, friend and so-called prodigy Makhachev caught up with the retired champion in title defenses, locking in defense #3 with a submission win over common opponent Dustin Poirier at UFC 302.

Makhachev’s Dangerousness vs. Nurmagomedov’s Dominance

Perennial contender Poirier is the only fighter who can say he shared the Octagon with both Nurmagomedov and Makhachev, doing much better than he did in his rather lopsided loss to Nurmagomedov. Poirier lasted longer with Makhachev, but ultimately met the same fate as he did with Nurmagomedov in 2019, tapping out to a tight choke.

Comparisons (whether it’s regarding career accomplishments or fighting styles) can definitely be made between the two Dagestani’s, but Cormier doesn’t think it should stem from their success against “The Diamond”.

“I don’t know that it’s fair to compare him, especially based on the common opponent, because I believe Dustin Poirier was better because he had the opportunity to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov,” Cormier said on Good Guy / Bad Guy.

“He had felt that that strength in grappling a a little bit of a recognition of what he would be facing when he got in the octagon. I was one of the people that said early and I said, I think Islam Makhachev is more dangerous than Khabib because of his striking. But as I reflect on this, as a guy that’s been in there with both. I don’t know if we’ll ever see anyone as dominant as Khabib.”

‘The Dominance Is Different’

Make no mistake, Makhachev has shown a level of dominance in the UFC Octagon as well. En route to the title, contenders had their hands full trying to defend takedowns from the Dagestan-born fighters, however, not to much avail. Makhachev was knocked out once in 2015 by Adriano Martins but made up for it with 14-straight victories and the UFC Lightweight title in 2022.

“I’m not saying that Islam was losing the fight on Saturday. There were times though, where it looked competitive,” Cormier added.

DC: ‘History Tells Us’ Khabib Would’ve Been Champion Currently

Nurmagomedov, on the other hand, went about his career rarely ever losing a round.

“How often did you see Khabib Nurmagomedov not look outwardly dominant? That is where I think you make the difference,” Cormier continued. “We don’t know what would’ve happened if Khabib stayed for a while, but as you said earlier, history tells us he’d probably still be holding onto that championship right now with about eight or nine title defenses and still kind of dominating the way that he did.

“So when I watch him, I think the dominance is different because Islam will stand with you more than Khabib was willing to. But it was in the idea that you knew exactly what Khabib Nurmagomedov was going to do to you and nobody could stop it with Islam. Sure, you got more things to worry about, you gotta worry about the striking. But, with Khabib, he literally would tell you, I am going to take you down and maul you and beat you up, and no one could stop it. I don’t know that we’ll ever see anybody more dominant than him.”

Would Khabib Nurmagomedov still reign as UFC Lightweight Champion today had he not retired at the top of his game in 2020?

Published on June 6, 2024 at 6:17 pm
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