KARACHI: UFC president Dana White insists Khabib Nurmagomedov cannot be referred to as the greatest MMA fighter of all time because he "retired too early,"
Nurmagomedov, a former lightweight champion of the UFC, is regarded as one of the best, if not the finest combatant to ever enter a ring. In 29 professional matches, the Russian went undefeated.
He ended his career in late 2020 by defeating interim champion Justin Gaethje by first-round submission.
Some fans have questioned his title as the greatest boxer ever as a result of his decision to retire at the height of his career. UFC president White believes Nurmagomedov retired too soon because he did so before facing elite lightweights like Charles Oliveira.
"It's so hard," White told GQ. "Obviously, he is talented enough [to be the greatest]. Who knows what he could accomplish, but he retired too early. I mean Jon Jones is probably going to fight at heavyweight this year. Whatever you think about Jon, it's hard not to call him the GOAT. Believe me, when I tell you, I have tried to convince Khabib to come out of retirement. We will see what happens over the next couple of years. I feel like he left in his prime, look at what he did to Justin Gaethje right before he retired."
Nurmagomedov defeated last-minute substitute Al Iaquinta, who entered the bout unranked in the lightweight category, to claim the vacant UFC lightweight championship.
Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier were both submitted by "The Eagle" before he defeated Gaethje to earn his final career victory.