It is a popular opinion among hardcore fans that former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov didn’t defend his title enough to cement him solidly as the pound for pound GOAT.
With the rise of Charles Oliveira who is on an incredible 11 fight win streak there is a new candidate for greatest lightweight ever. In his last three fights he has finished Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje. Had Charles not been stripped of the title due to missing weight by a half a pound for the Gaethje bout, that would have been his second defense. Nurmagomedov only defended three times against two familiar foes in Poirier and Gaethje, and against bitter rival Conor McGregor. Another high profile win for Oliveira and he would have been right up there with Khabib in terms of championship caliber and defenses.
Unfortunately, Charles missed the weight, and had he chosen to cut his thick hair – maybe he could have shaved off that half a pound and still be holding the belt?
Despite the mess, Oliveira remains respected and is likely looking at a bout with surging Islam Makhachev for the vacant lightweight title. According to former American Kickboxing Academy jiu jitsu coach Leandro Vieira the only way that Khabib might return from retirement is the outcome of that potential fight.
If Charles beats Makhachev, I truly believe that Khabib would return to avenge him.Former AKA jiu jistu coach Leandro Vieira to Sherdog.com
Nurmagomedov is 33 years old and has a reported net worth of $40M so would he really return? Who knows.