Georges St-Pierre thinks he would have beaten Khabib Nurmagomedov: “I would have put him down. I would have had the confidence to try to go for it”

When it comes to hypothetical questions in the world of mixed martial arts and the UFC, there are few more intriguing than wondering who would have put up the best fight against or even defeated the former lightweight champion and undefeated (29-0) Khabib Nurmagomedov.

So how would one of the greatest fighters of all time, Georges St-Pierre have fared? According to St-Pierre himself, he’s confident that he had the tools to have been the one to hand Khabib his first official loss.

“I think Khabib could have beat me, I’m not saying I could have beat Khabib all the time,” St-Pierre said on the most recent episode of Henry Cejudo and Kamaru Usman’s Pound 4 Pound pocast. “I was confident enough to take that fight that I was thinking that if I take that fight I’m going to beat him that day at that particular place, that doesn’t mean I will beat him all the time. But I was confident, maybe I’m wrong.

“I think I would have beat him because if he would have come to put pressure on me, I would have put him down. I would have had the confidence to try to go for it.”

One of Khabib’s greatest strengths in the octagon was his relentless pressure and total control of the other opponent when it came to grappling. Khabib oftentimes completely immobilized his opponents for rounds at a time, making him look like an indefatigable, unstoppable monster during his tenure — in fact, it can be argued that Khabib lost only a few rounds in his entire UFC run. St-Pierre however, believes that his style and approach would’ve negated Khabib’s greatest weapons.

Georges St-Pierre vs Matt Hughes/YouTube

“Khabib, he’s got a very good overhand right,” St-Pierre continued. “He’s very good at measuring distance and at creating a dilemma in the mind of his opponent between a takedown and an overhand right. He’s very, very good, he’s at his most dangerous when he puts you with your back against the fence because he’s a master at chain wrestling. My style is different. My style is more in the middle. I’m very good at using fakes and creating distraction to get at your legs. I’m more that dynamic guy, I call it proactive and reactive takedowns from the center. But Khabib is better when he’s got his opponent, his back against the fence.

“So my strategy if I would have gone against Khabib would have been to keep the fight as much as I can in the middle and not be afraid to go to take him down. I think that I would have maybe been the first guy that he fought or one of the only guys that would have tried to put him down, and I’ve put down everybody that I’ve fought.”

Although highly offensive fighters like Justin Gaethje, Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier were unable to find success against Khabib employing similar strategies to the one St-Pierre proffers in his hypothetical matchup, he believes catching Khabib and not being afraid of his grappling ability would have been two huge components of success.

“I think most guys that fought Khabib were afraid of Khabib’s takedowns,” St-Pierre added, “so they were fighting on their heels and they were getting backed up to the wall. Three guys that fought Khabib did very well: Gleison Tibau, very, very close fight, if you watch that fight it’s very, very close; Michael Johnson was my training partner… If you watch the early minute of the fight, he’s doing a fantastic job until he lost his confidence because Michael Johnson is incredibly gifted, very, very talented, but when things start not going his way, the floodgate opens. I think that’s one of the mistakes he did and if he would have started the second round as good as he did in the first he would have had a better performance.

“Another guy who did well is Gaethje, Gaethje in the beginning did very well. Kick, punch, he did very well until similar story, things start to not go well and then everything falls apart.”

Georges St-Pierre vs Nick Diaz/YouTube

Unfortunately, a Georges St-Pierre vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov matchup will have to forever remain a hypothetical, as both fighters are retired and have adamantly stated that their professional fighting careers are over for good.

“You have to always think of what you can gain and what you can lose,” St-Pierre said. “It would be a fight that everybody at the time wanted because Khabib had a perfect career. Nobody ever beat him and he retired on top. At the time, that was the fight that everybody wanted to see. So if it would be a time that I would have made a comeback for one fight, right after I retired, it was that time.

“But I always told myself—now I’m 42 years old—when I hit the four-zero, it’s finished, there’s nothing that can make me come back. It’s finished. So I was about 38, 39 when that happened. Even his own people told me, some of the people told me, ‘Hey, I think he’s going to ask for you.’ Then when he retired, I think everybody got surprised.”

What are your thoughts on how Georges St-Pierre thinks he would have beaten Khabib Nurmagomedov? Who do you think would have won the fight in their primes? Let us know in the comments.

Featured image courtesy of Giannis P YouTube.

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