Speaking on his podcast this week, Chael Sonnen shared some doubts about Khabib Nurmagomedov ahead of the undisputed lightweight champion’s upcoming fight against interim champ Dustin Poirier at UFC 242.
“He’s been out for a while,” Sonnen said of Nurmagomedov. “For Khabib, it was because of a suspension. For other guys, it was because of an injury or a contract dispute. But that always becomes a talking point ‘well how’s he gonna look, he’s been out, the other guy’s been busy, ring rust is a real thing’ For some reason, Khabib has penetrated the hearts and minds of the fans to the point that that dialogue is not even coming up. It’s as if this guy is bulletproof and we have fallen for that before.”
“I could give you the Mike Tysons of the world, the night George St-Pierre fell down, Anderson Silva comes to mind. Nobody is bulletproof.”
Sonnen highlights the fact that since Nurmagomedov has been out of action, Poirier has been on a roll and recently become an interim champion. Nurmagoemdov’s undefeated record could be the reason he is not being questioned.
“Mike Tyson lost his championship to Buster Douglas in that huge upset in Tokyo,” Sonnen says. “Mike Tyson came out and spoke about it, he said ‘Of course I lost the championship. I’m famous, I’ve got a whole bunch of money, I’m doing Diet Pepsi commercials, I’m flying all over the world, I’m not at home with my team.
“I don’t know why Khabib is bulletproof to that because a lot of those similarities are there. He’s all of a sudden ‘Mr. Famous’. He’s so famous that he’s got political pole in that region (Dagestan.) He’s training at the AKA with Javier Mendez but he lives in Dagestan, 21 hours away. I do think it’s a fair question, how much consistent training is he getting in conjunction with the push and pull of travel schedules, with the media, with all the new ‘friends’ he’s got, all the way up to politicians? I am surprised no one’s talking about it!”
Do you agree with Chael Sonnen on this one? Is Khabib Nurmagomedov getting too much credit?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/2/2019.