On October 6, in the main event of UFC 229, undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will attempt to defend his title opposite former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor. For many fans and pundits, this fight represents the very best in mixed martial arts. Yet in the eyes of former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz, this fight isn’t anything special.
In fact, Nick Diaz feels Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor really aren’t as good as everybody is letting on, and that he’d beat both of them.
“I’ll beat both of them, I’ll beat both their asses,” Diaz told TMZ recently (transcript via MMA Mania). “They’re not that good.”
Nick Diaz has not fought since January of 2015, when he gave up a decision to Anderson Silva. This bout was later ruled a no contest when Silva tested positive for drostanolone and androsterone and Diaz tested positive for marijuana. He lost his two next most recent bouts, giving up decisions to Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit. Diaz’s last win occurred in 2011, when he defeated BJ Penn by decision.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s will step onto the canvas at UFC 229 having last fought in April, when he captured the UFC lightweight title with a decision defeat of last-minute replacement opponent Al Iaquinta. The title was quietly stripped from the long absent Conor McGregor on the same night. With this title win over Iaquinta, Nurmagomedov improved to a flawless 26-0 overall — one of the most impressive records in MMA.
Conor McGregor, on the other hand, has not competed since August of 2017, when he came up short in a headline-dominating boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. His most recent MMA bout occurred in November of 2016, when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez to capture the UFC lightweight title. Because he still held the UFC featherweight title he won from Jose Aldo at the time, this made him the first fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two weight classes concurrently. He’s 21-3 overall.
What do you think of Nick Diaz’s assessment of Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/28/2018.