When you think fantasy fights, you often think of the best to ever do it against the best of the current generation. What if the best of the current generation *is* is the best to ever do it?
There is a very, very strong argument that Georges St-Pierre is the best mixed martial artist of all-time. He has just two losses in his career, both of which he avenged soon after suffering them and he has held a world title in two different weight classes.
He’s probably in the top two for most dominant wrestlers ever too in MMA, but he’s definitely not No.1 in that department.
That honour belongs to ‘The Eagle’ Khabib Nurmagomedov. At 28-0, Khabib is the most dominant UFC champion in history with the consensus being that he has lost just one-round in his entire career. He’s taken everyone down and after wearing on them for a few rounds he gets the submission. If he doesn’t get the submission, he beats you to a pulp for five full rounds and gives the referee a decision to make. Stop the fight or watch me maul this man.
With a fight against Justin Gaethje scheduled for October at UFC 254, Khabib has made his stance clear. Following the death of his father this summer due to COVID-19, Khabib’s plan is simple. Beat Gaethje for 29-0 and then face Georges St-Pierre for 30-0, then retire.
St-Pierre has been retired since he beat Michael Bisping for the middleweight belt back in 2017 and was suffering from ulcerative diverticulitis. He has since been declared healthy again but officially retired in February 2019 and entered the UFC Hall of Fame this year. But he’s open to a return.
After Khabib made the world aware of his plan to fight Georges, Ariel Helwani said he spoke to the Canadian athlete about a potential bout and how Dana White had agreed that it is something he would try to make happen if Khabib got past Gaethje.
According to Helwani, GSP immediately reacted with joy at the thought of a bout between the two and began strategising immediately. How would he cut down to 155lbs? What would the gameplan be? Would he be able to stay on his feet throughout the fight and avoid the takedown? His genius mind starting ticking at the thought of a bout.
So what would happen if they fought? How would it go down?
Both are dominant fighters who use their wrestling skills to dominate where the fight will go. Khabib is the better grappler and if it was up to him, he’d employ his usual tactics of takedown, ground & pound, submission. GSP’s usual plan would be to stand and strike then shoot in for a takedown later in the fight if he needed to, because he knows he has the advantage there.
His kicking game is excellent, but he’d surely be wary of throwing too many kicks against someone as aggressive and talented as Khabib. If you ask Daniel Cormier, it doesn’t matter what GSP’s plan would be because there is nobody in any division in the UFC up to 185lbs that can stay on the feet with Khabib across the cage from them. If that’s true, then it’ll be a long night for GSP just as it has been for everyone else that has fought the Russian superstar.
In all likelihood, Khabib smothers him on the ground and the weight cut works against GSP’s chances. But St-Pierre is so skilled on the feet that he may have the best chance of landing the knockout punch that is needed to defeat Khabib. His spinning attacks along with his strong jab and 6 inch reach advantage would mean Khabib needs to close the distance quickly in order to get the fight down and it could be a big enough window to keep the fight up for a bit longer than anyone else, which means more chance of a knockout.
There’s also the off-chance that GSP attempts to take the fight to the ground himself, trusting his own wrestling abilities and top control to beat Khabib at his own game.
The fight would arguably be the biggest MMA fight of all-time between two names synonymous with dominance in the sport. Beating Justin Gaethje is no walk in the park, but if Khabib can do it then this would be *the* fight to make.