GSP Details Strategy for Lost Khabib Nurmagomedov Fight

Credit: Credit: Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports

While we never got the heavily hyped showdown between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Georges St. Pierre, the former welterweight and middleweight champion explained how he planned on handing his hypothetical opponent. 

Related: Georges St. Pierre Reveals Cancer Scare Led to Retirement

When Pound 4 Pound podcast co-host Henry Cejudo asked St. Pierre to assess Khabib Nurmagomedov, “Rush” gave him a detailed analysis that included the gameplan he would have used had the two actually met in the Octagon.

“Khabib is better when he’s got his opponent’s back against the fence. So my strategy if I would’ve gone against Khabib would be to keep the fight as most as I can in the middle and not being afraid to go for taking down. I think I would have maybe been the first or one of the only first guys that he fought that would’ve tried to put him down. And I’ve put down everybody that I fought.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov retired as UFC lightweight champion with an undefeated record. St. Pierre believes that his 29 opponents failed because they were “afraid of Khabib’s takedowns so they fought on their heels.”

St. Pierre points to two of Nurmagomedov’s most dominant wins as evidence of “The Eagle” having the mental edge over his competition: Michael Johnson and Justin Gaethje.

“Michael Johnson is incredibly gifted, very, very talented, but when things start not going his way, the floodgate opens. I think that’s one of the mistakes he did and if he would have started the second round as good as he did in the first he would have had a better performance,” St. Pierre said about his former training partner that lost via third round submission at UFC 205.

When speaking about the current BMF belt holder, St. Pierre said that Gaethje started off well until a “similar story” of things began to fall apart under the Dagestani’s pressure. Gaethje was bested by a second technical submission at UFC 254.

The Canadian believes that his confidence would have made him the first and only person to hand Nurmagomedov a loss. “I was confident enough to take that fight that I was thinking that if I take that fight, I’m going to beat him that day at that particular place, that doesn’t mean I will beat him all the time. But I was confident, maybe I’m wrong,” he said.

“I think I would have beat him because if he would have come to put pressure on me, I would have put him down. I would have had the confidence to try, to go for it.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Georges St. Pierre

khabib nurmagomedov vs georges st. pierre
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Speculation about a fight between the St. Pierre and Nurmagomedov began shortly after The Eagle captured the undisputed lightweight crown at UFC 223.

Nurmagomedov called out Rush, who vacated the middleweight throne several months earlier citing difficulties holding on to the extra weight, for his first title defense. 

Plans never materialized and with both men retired and uninterested in returning to MMA, it will likely remain among the sport’s many “What If” matchups. As recently as last year, the pair were rumored for a grappling match at the UFC Fight Pass Invitational. However, those rumors were false and St. Pierre’s appearance at the event was scrapped due to injury.

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Ant Walker is a native of the Washington DC area that now lives in Los Angeles. He has been... More about Anthony Walker

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