Former undisputed UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov has distanced himself from comparisons to fellow former division gold holder, Charles Oliveira – claiming resemblances between the two are “questionable” due to Oliveira’s knockdown rate.
Khabib, a former undisputed lightweight champion, landed three successful defenses of his crown before his October 2020 retirement – calling time on his career boasting an unbeaten 29-0 professional record.
In his final Octagon walk, the Dagestan grappler stopped common-foe, Justin Gaethje to successfully unify the lightweight titles, adding to a prior win over another common opponent, Dustin Poirier – and his premier title knockback win against Conor McGregor.
Before his stripping as undisputed lightweight champion ahead of UFC 274, Oliveira had successfully stopped Poirier with a third round standing rear-naked choke last December, landing his sole successful title defense since winning the vacant crown with a knockout of Michael Chandler last May.
Oliveira would go on to headline UFC 274 against Gaethje, successfully stopping the Arizona hometown favorite with a first round rear-naked choke – once again forced to rally after some early round adversity in the form of a knockdown.
Khabib Nurmagomedov doubts comparisons between himself and Charles Oliveira
With his blistering run of 11 straight victories, Oliveira has begun to receive mass comparisons to the aforenoted, Khabib, however, the latter claims any sort of comparisons are so far, wide of the mark – amid the punishment Oliveira has taken recently despite his winning efforts.
“He (Charles Oliveira) impressed me like little bit,” Khabib Nurmagomedov told ESPN. “But every fight, he goes down (get’s knocked down). This one is a little bit bad for him. Every fight he goes down, couple of times. Last fight (UFC 274), it was like, how many? Two, three times knockdowns?”
“With Michael Chandler, with Dustin Poirier, with Justin Gaethje, he (Charles Oliveira) always goes down,” Khabib Nurmagomedov explained. “This is like a little bit questionable, you know. Nobody every touched my face, and all the time he go down. People cannot talk about like compare me versus (to) Charles Oliveira.”
Despite the fact Khabib remains impressed with Oliveira’s current run, he pointed to the Sao Paulo native’s prior submission losses.
“He tapped in UFC eight times (three times),” Khabib Nurmagomedov said incorrectly. “Please, come on. When he tapped to Jim Miller, Anthony Pettis, (Max) Holloway, (Paul) Felder – it was Charles Oliveira. It was not Khabib. If you want to deserve the name greatest lightweight, he has to beat Islam (Makhachev), Beneil (Dariush), a couple more guys, and then we can talk. He has to be a professional and make weight when he has a championship belt.”
“But what he’s doing, this is very impressive,” Khabib Nurmagomedov said. “How he came back from so many losses, and now he has good ground, he has good striking game. Knee, elbows, kicks, he looks good. That’s why I really want to see him versus Islam. This is like a big test for both of them.” (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)