Brendan Schaub doesn’t think much of Khabib Nurmagomedov saying Islam Makhachev should have five or six title defences and then ‘leave’ the sport.
The fighter-turned-comedian believes it would be a ‘weak’ move to merely hang up the gloves after suffering a first loss as champion. The former UFC heavyweight criticised that thinking from ‘The Eagle’ when speaking on the Schaub Show.
“Khabib backed out right? So if a guy did come who can wrestle and negate Makhachev’s and Khabib’s wrestling, you just retire? That’s stupid,” Schaub said. “That’s not what champions do…It’s like, ‘He should do as many title defenses as he can before father time catches up to him.’ You don’t wanna say ‘the game catches up to him’. Hold up, if somebody comes along who poses a threat, he just retires? That’s some weak sh**,” Schaub added.
The comments Brendan Schaub is alluding to were said by Khabib in an interview with Red Corner MMA.
“I think he needs at least five. Maybe six. That would be ideal. Six defenses, that’s six fights and three years. Then it’s possible that the sport leaves him because nobody can stay on top forever. The way the Almighty created a man, he first becomes strong then weak. He’s young then he’s old. Knowing that, the goal is five-six defenses,” explained the former UFC lightweight champion.
Khabib arguably knows a thing or two about quitting while you’re ahead. The 34-year-old famously retired after submitting Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in 2020. The Russian left behind an unblemished 29-0 record and is widely considered to be one of the greatest MMA fighter of all-time.
But, to Schaub’s point, there are plenty of high profile names in sport who believe that Khabib left the sport too early to truly be considered in the GOAT conversation. For his part, Islam Makhachev is building quite a legacy. The 31-year-old is riding an 11-fight winning streak. He took the belt from Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 – a man many believe to be one of the best 155lb-ers ever.
The AKA fighter will have a chance to enhance that legacy when he defends the belt against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 in Perth.
Do you agree with Schaub regarding Makhachev’s future, or does Khabib know what he’s doing with his protege?