Khabib Nurmagomedov has been an incredibly dominant force in the UFC lightweight division, but he has not made much mention of moving up to welterweight or down to featherweight. As it turns out, there is a reason for that.
Nurmagomedov has always been focused on building a legacy, and he believes consistency in his natural weight class is more important to that end than seeking challenges in new weight classes.
“I think if you want to improve your legacy by changing weight classes, I don’t think this is help for you,” Nurmagomedov said on a media conference call ahead of his title fight with Dustin Poirier, scheduled for UFC 242 on September 7 (via MMA News). “Only one thing helps for you. You have to beat up-and-comers. What about when you beat tough opponents and you’re still undefeated more than the others. I think this is going to improve your legacy.
“If you lose couple times and you win one title, second title, you lose again, and then you win third title, this does not make you great,” Nurmagomedov added. “My opinion, when you’re undefeated long time and you never lose, this is when it’s real thing.
“… When you go to the cage and again, again, again, you win, win, win, win, that helps to talk about ‘this guy is tough’. I don’t focus on welterweight or featherweight, my focus is the lightweight division.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov is undefeated at 27-0. Now the undisputed UFC lightweight champ, highlights of his run in the division include victories over Rafael dos Anjos, Michael Johnson, Edson Barboza, Al Iaquinta, Conor McGregor, and others.
Do you agree with Nurmagomedov on this one? Is consistency in one weight class the most important building block of a lasting legacy?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/3/2019.