Jon Jones still isn’t buying the “Greatest of All Time” discussion that has surrounded Khabib Nurmagomedov since his retirement bout at UFC 254 on Saturday.
Nurmagomedov submitted Justin Gaethje with a triangle choke at the 1:34 mark of Round 2 in Abu Dhabi to run his career record to 29-0. Citing a promise he made to his mother beforehand, “The Eagle” laid his gloves down in the Octagon after the victory. Nurmagomedov’s record includes 13 UFC triumphs and four victories in title fights, the latter of which ties him with B.J. Penn and Benson Henderson for the most in the history of the lightweight division. Perhaps even more impressively, Nurmagomedov has rarely lost a round during his UFC tenure.
Still, Jones believes his 15 title fight victories (one of those was eventually changed to a no contest) trump Nurmagomedov — by a significant margin.
“I’m talking to all you Khabib fans out there,” Jones said in a video on his Instagram account. “Fifteen world titles to your guy’s four. And you guys are really talking about who’s the best fighter ever? You guys are joking, right? Fifteen to four, are you guys kidding me?”
For Jones, the pressure of a championship fight is something that Nurmagomedov hasn’t experienced enough to be viewed as the sport’s all-time best. The Jackson-Wink MMA standout believes only former welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St. Pierre approaches his level in that regard with 13 victories in championship bouts.
“The only person who could possibly come back and challenge my record and what I’ve done in the UFC is possibly Georges St. Pierre,” Jones said. “He would have to come back and win two championship fights to tie me. And I’m not even retired yet. I’m 33 years old. We’ve got a whole other chapter to go through. You guys are nuts. I love you guys so much. I hope you guys all have a great day.”
Jones detractors will point out that “Bones” has been through several close calls of late, including a split-decision triumph against Thiago Santos at UFC 239 and a five-round verdict over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 that many scored in favor of Reyes. Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, is arguably on the best run of his career, with dominant submission wins over Gaethje, Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor in his last three outings.
Overall, Jones claims to have faced tough competition for longer than the Dagestani standout.
“Fifteen world championships to four,” Jones said. “And all you guys that are going with this, ‘He’s more dominant,’ argument? The guy just recently started fighting elite-level competition. Could you imagine me against the No. 10 ranked guy?”
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