UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is viewed by many fans as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. If you ask the man himself, however, that lofty title belongs to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Nurmagomedov, a friend and training partner of Jones’ arch rival Daniel Cormier, was asked who he considers the sport’s pound-for-pound king at a recent press conference in Russia.
He did not hesitate in his answer.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently gearing up for a fight with streaking contender Tony Ferguson, which is scheduled for UFC 249 this April in Brooklyn, New York. The pair have been scheduled to fight a whopping four times previously, yet have remarkably never made it into the cage together so far. The hope is that the fifth time will be the charm.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently a flawless 28-0 as a professional fighter—easily the most impressive undefeated record in the sport at present. Highlights of his resume include recent victories over top-flight opposition such as Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Al Iaquinta, Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson and Rafael dos Anjos.
Tony Ferguson, on the other hand, will enter his fight with with Nurmagomedov on a 12-fight win-streak, and is widely regarded as the champ’s toughest challenge to date. Highlights of his recent career include decisive victories over the likes of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, Kevin Lee, Rafael dos Anjos and Edson Barboza.
Jon Jones, meanwhile, is just over a month away from a light heavyweight title defense opposite undefeated contender Dominick Reyes.
Jones will enter the fight with recent wins over Thiago Santos, Anthony Smith and Alexander Gustafsson in the rear-view. Prior to those wins, he endured a lengthy hiatus due to a failed drug test. Jones has lost just once as a pro, and that loss came via controversial disqualification. Over the course of his illustrious career, he’s bested foes like Ryan Bader, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira, Daniel Cormier, and the men mentioned above.
Who do you consider the pound-for-pound best fighter in MMA? Jon Jones, Khabib Nurmagomedov, or somebody else?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/26/2019.