There are many ways to look at the career that Khabib Nurmagomedov has had, but nearly anyone can agree that it has been spectacular.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones doesn't disagree with those that say Khabib has had an outstanding, even dominant career. What he does disagree with is those that are now calling him the Greatest of All Time.
Even UFC president Dana White, following Khabib's submission victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on Saturday, called Khabib the "baddest motherf---er on the planet."
Of course, there probably is some "recency bias" as UFC commentator Jon Anik acknowledged, but that plays a part in what is being argued: GOAT status or official pound-for-pound ranking.
"The pressure that Khabib puts on you is unbelievable. Literally didn’t respect his punching power. Just walked right into everything and did what he wanted.
"Then the second round, he keeps the pressure on. For that submission, he locks it up, gets it and chokes him out. Unbelievable," White continued.
"He is the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and you seriously have to start putting him up there at GOAT status with whoever else you think is the GOAT."
That's actually an important distinction that White made. While there is an official men's and a women's pound-for-pound UFC ranking, it is not synonymous with being the GOAT, though both are highly subjective.
The pound-for-pound ranking lumps all weight classes together, listing the top fighters at any given point in time. The GOAT status is more of a career retrospective ranking.
For instance, officially retired UFC fighters are not listed in the pound-for-pound rankings. Randy Couture, Georges St-Pierre, Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, and any other number of highly regarded fighters are not available for ranking. Only fighters currently under contract are available to be considered the current best pound-for-pound fighter.
There is no official GOAT ranking. Who is thought of as the GOAT is simply a water cooler or bar top discussion that people have on their own.
But in the same vein, Jones has every reason to have the
"water cooler" discussion on Twitter with other fighters, pundits, and fans, to make his case for being the GOAT, while still respecting what Khabib has achieved.
Here's how Jon Jones compared his career vs. that of Khabib Nurmagomedov
Related Video > Fighters react to Khabib's surprise UFC 254 retirement
(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)