Khabib Nurmagomedov stunned the world last night shortly after a masterclass victory over opponent Justin Gaethje, via a second-round submission, by announcing his retirement from the sport of mixed martial arts.
In an extremely emotional night for the Russian superstar, Khabib issued an open request to UFC for him to be crowned the undisputed greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time.
Mere fans can hardly dispute Khabib’s claim and can only sit back in awe of his unprecedented achievements in the sport of MMA. That is, however, not what Jon Jones thinks, not what he thinks at all…
Jones, shortly after Khabib’s claims, issued an overt objection, stating that Khabib’s achievements don’t come close to rival what he has done in the cage.
Nurmagomedov called for UFC to place him on top of any rankings issued in the future, bringing to a halt any doubt that would suggest he is not the greatest ultimate fighter of all time.
Khabib took on Gaethje at UFC 254 last night in a “Fight Island” event and won by submission in the second round, stretching his win streak to a mind-bending 29-0, a record unmatched in top-level mixed martial arts.
Post-fight, Khabib spoke to UFC commentator Jon Anik, stating: “There is only one thing I want from UFC, to put me as No 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world because I deserve it.”
This was Khabib’s final request from the company before his retirement, a request that was not taken kindly by fellow competitor Jones, who is in contention for that position himself.
Jones, originally full of praise for his Russian colleague, has received backlash from fans, calling him “salty” for his comments that would surface later on.
Jones took to Twitter to vent frustration at the request from Nurmagomedov: “15 world titles, numbers don’t lie.
“I’m just going to ask for the heavyweight championship belt and see if they give it to me. Since we can just ask for things now.
“If we’re having a popularity contest, I’d gladly take my L. This sh*t has nothing to do with fame or being a good person. I’ve giving [given] my whole adult life to this game, I owe it to myself to speak up."
Of course, Jones has legitimate right to stake his claim, but how he reacted last night has not gone down well with UFC fans.
Jones has been a controversial figure throughout most of his professional career, inside and outside the cage, with some parts of his career being shadowed by arrests and incidents outside of fighting.
On the fans calling him “salty”, Jones went on to say: "The saddest thing about this situation is that the company is probably going to honour his request and demote me. It will be insulting but not much of a surprise. I’ll just use it as motivation.
"Not salty at all, I really do respect Khabib, I honour the type of man he is. But being the best is earned not given. Unfortunately, four title fights ain't it, no matter how much we all like em."
The latest UFC rankings are due to be released in less than a week and it is still yet to be seen who will be crowned undisputedly the best pound-for-pound fighter in the company’s history.
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