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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Khabib Nurmagomedov looked mighty impressive in his UFC 242 win over Dustin Poirier, leading many to openly question whether or not he is the best fighter on the planet right now.
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is often called the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, though the USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie MMA rankings have him sitting at No. 2, just behind Nurmagomedov, who took the top spot following former dual champ Daniel Cormier’s August loss to Stipe Miocic.
It’s an intriguing debate. Neither man has ever been beaten, even if Jones’ record does include one loss via disqualification. Jones (25-1 MMA, 19-1 UFC) certainly has the top championship accolades with a stunning 10 successful defenses of the UFC light heavyweight title, even if the run has been marred with controversy outside of the cage.
But the current lightweight champ’s past two fights, especially, have earned Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC) high praise. Vicious finishes of Poirier and Conor McGregor have proven him to be a scary proposition, and UFC light heavyweight Glover Teixeira said that’s what he’s found most impressive.
“I think Jon Jones is up there, for sure,” Teixeira told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at Thursday’s UFC on ESPN+ 16 media day. “Jon Jones, he’s been there. But after I saw Khabib’s last fight – Dustin Poirier, I saw that kid training and I saw how he good he is, and the way he dominated Dustin Poirier, in my mind, he’s definitely the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter.”
Teixeira, of course, had a brush with Jones, suffering a five-round decision loss in a failed bid to unseat “Bones” back at UFC 172 in April 2014. At 39, Teixeira is hoping to get another crack at the belt before he calls it a career, and he certainly has ample respect for the current champion of his division. But for Teixeira, Nurmagomedov is just a cut above his peers.
“Jon Jones has won more title defenses and all that, but Jon Jones hasn’t dominated opponents the way Khabib has been,” Teixeira. “Khabib just looks like way too much. He’s way above the guys. He’s like a 10, and the people he’s fighting are like a 7.”
Teixeira (29-7 MMA, 12-5 UFC) takes on Nikita Krylov (26-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) at Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 16 event at Rogers Arena. The night’s full card streams live on ESPN+.
News | MMA Junkie