The chances of Conor McGregor and Georges St-Pierre fighting at this juncture seem relatively slim. But, it sounds like the latter’s coach believes Khabib Nurmagomedov demonstrated at UFC 229 why that scrap wouldn’t be very competitive.
Leading up to UFC 229, there was a fair amount of talk about whether the bout could lead to GSP fighting the winner of Nurmagomedov – McGregor. Particularly in the case of McGregor, since, a fight between the star and St-Pierre would almost certainly be massive (not that Khabib – GSP wouldn’t be). Although Dana White repeatedly shot down the idea of allowing GSP to fight for the lightweight title, the consensus was that if McGregor beat Khabib, and called out St-Pierre, the bout might materialize.
Wel, as we all know now, McGregor didn’t win, as Khabib’s wrestling and top game proved to be too much for the vaunted striker. Recently St-Pierre’s head coach, Firas Zahabi held a live chat online, and while discussing GSP vs. McGregor, having seen what Nurmagomedov accomplished at UFC 229, the Tristar leader said this (quotes via Bloody Elbow):
“I think GSP would do much of the same, even more than what Khabib did,” Zahabi said. “GSP has an explosive shot from the outside, and he understands — he has a better range. He has a longer range for his takedowns, a longer range for his striking.
“His submissions and ground and pound and jiujitsu, it’s very similar to Khabib. They’re very strong wrestlers, but GSP can do it all from a longer range, further range,”
“And GSP is very familiar with what McGregor does, that karate, taekwondo, kickboxing hybrid style. That’s stuff we grew up with, so we know that very very well. We do a lot of that. We’re very familiar with those teeps, those counter lefts, very familiar with those kind of stuff.”
Ya. It’s hard to disagree with Zahabi here. GSP’s takedowns from the clinch aren’t at the level of Khabib’s, but St-Pierre is longer, and he still has a pretty explosive double leg. Further, there’s no question that GSP is a more diverse and experienced striker than Nurmagomedov.
Now does any of this mean that Conor would have no shot against St-Pierre? Of course not. But, GSP would likely be a sizeable favorite if the two were booked to fight.
Zahabi also reportedly said during the chat session that he believes Khabib – GSP would beat Nurmagomedov – McGregor at this point, on account of how famous the lightweight champ now is. Whether that’s true or not, considering all the talk about McGregor getting a rematch, or Tony Ferguson receiving his well deserved title shot, chances are we’re not going to see St-Pierre fighting for the 155 title.