This Saturday night at UFC 276, Israel Adesanya will return to the main event stage when he defends the UFC middleweight championship against Jared Cannonier. While many favour Adesanya to win, there’s no denying that plenty of his haters are foaming at the mouth with the hope of seeing his title reign crumble to the ground.
‘The Last Stylebender’ tends to get name-dropped quite a bit when it comes to potential superfights and recently, Ali Abdelaziz noted that he believes Khabib Nurmagomedov would be able to defeat the 185-pound king if the two ever locked horns.
Khabib was asked whether or not he agreed during an interview before the UFC Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and unsurprisingly, he gave an incredibly humble response.
“I’m not gonna fight at 185, I’m not gonna fight with him, it’s like, right now this is his time. Don’t try to take his greatness. How many years as middleweight champion? Three? Four? I think he deserves some respect. Don’t treat him like this, like some lightweight can beat him easily.
“If we grapple, we can grapple, like in the gym like I did with all these heavyweights, light heavyweights, middleweights, but going to fight and talking about ‘oh I can smash him’, I didn’t say this. People talk about this, I don’t agree with this.”
Will Khabib return?
It’s not unheard of for fighters to come out of retirement in mixed martial arts, especially at the age of 33, but Khabib Nurmagomedov seems to be pretty happy with how he ended things.
Between his coaching and promoting work it’s clear to see that he has a lot of other business ventures to get excited about and in many ways, he has nothing left to prove.
We’d all like to see him lock horns with the likes of Charles Oliveira but either way, his legacy will stand the test of time.
Israel Adesanya, meanwhile, is already known as one of MMA’s greatest middleweights ever, and it seems as if he plans on solidifying that position in the next couple of years.