Two days after Dana White confirmed the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor McGregor showdown, a legend of the sport gave his early prediction on the highly-anticipated lightweight match.
Former three-time welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre claimed that the returning McGregor could face a ‘harsh reality check’ when he locks horns with the reigning lightweight champion this October.
No Rust But…
The Notorious last fought his professional MMA fight two years ago when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez at the UFC 205 en route to his second UFC title. So when he announced his upcoming return in the competition, fans and pundits have raised the issue of “rest vs rust.”
But GSP believes otherwise. He said that McGregor would not be rusty coming into the gigantic clash because fighting is his addiction. However, he stressed that his rival, Nurmagomedov, has the edge in their fight.
Speaking in a press conference in Australia, St. Pierre said:
“I believe Khabib has more chance to win that fight than Conor. Conor has one way to win the fight — if he catches him on the way in, standing up. Khabib has more chances to win. He can win by submission on the ground, and he can win by ground and pound. If it goes to a decision, the chances are very likely Khabib is going to win. I see more ways to win from Khabib than I see from Conor.”
He echoed the same sentiment in an interview with Submission Radio last weekend:
“If I had to put my house on it, it would have to be on Khabib. Khabib has never lost before, McGregor has lost and he has lost on the ground where Khabib is good. But, Khabib is a slow starter, he gets punched a lot, but once he gets you in the clinch he is very good.”
“I think maybe it is 60-40 for Khabib.”
Legacy vs Popularity
There is no doubt that McGregor is one of the most prominent figures in the world of MMA. While his popularity remains high, St-Pierre believes that Conor has yet to curve his fighting skills legacy.
For GSP, McGregor may be the promotion’s biggest cash cow, but that does not mean he is also the top fighter in the sport’s pedigree.
“In terms of popularity, in terms of the general public, Conor is the man. He’s the most popular fighter, the biggest drawcard we’ve ever had. However, if you’re a real fan of mixed martial arts and you know who’s who, in terms of legacy, Demetrious Johnson right now is the man, he’s the best guy.”
Despite losing his flyweight belt to Henry Cejudo last Saturday, GSP hailed the Mighty Mouse as the top guy in the sport right now.
“He just lost, which is a big thing. It doesn’t make as much noise as if Conor would have lost, but in terms of legacy and the torch being passed to another man, it’s crazy huge. In terms of legacy, you cannot compare Conor and Demetrious Johnson. In terms of mainstream popularity, yes, Conor is number one but in terms of fighting skill legacy, Conor is not there yet. Maybe he will one day but not yet. Demetrious Johnson is the top guy right now.”
And even if the Irish star wins against Nurmagomedov this October, GSP said the victory would still be not enough to catapult his name in the higher echelon of the sport.