Khabib Nurmagomedov’s victory in Saturday’s lightweight title unification over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, which ended with Nurmagomedov announcing his retirement from the sport, firmly added his name to the G.O.A.T. debate while ruffling the feathers of one Jon “Bones” Jones.
The 33-year-old Jones, who recently vacated his 205-pound title in order to test the waters at heavyweight, has been all over social media for the past three days stating his case for solo residency as the sport’s greatest fighter in history. On Tuesday, Jones took it one step further by posting a video to his Instagram account specifically aimed at Nurmagomedov fans who believe the debate is worth having.
Nurmagomedov (29-0) has a glossier record considering Jones (26-1, 1 NC) lost a 2009 fight in controversial fashion by disqualification to Matt Hamill and saw a 2017 knockout of Daniel Cormier changed to a no contest after Jones failed a drug test. The native of Russia also has been far more dominant than Jones in equally dangerous divisions, despite having a much smaller sample size against elite opponents.
That’s the part where Jones takes the most issue. Despite being stripped of his light heavyweight title a record three times for failed drug tests and legal issues, Jones holds the UFC record for most victories in title fights with 14 (which Jones refers to as 15 counting the second Cormier fight). Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, won his title when it was vacant and only made three defenses.
“I’m talking to all you Khabib fans out there,” Jones said. “Fifteen world titles to your guy’s four and you are really talking about who is the best fighter ever? You guys are joking, right? Fifteen to four? Are you guys kidding me?
“The only person that could possibly come back and challenge my record and what I have done in the UFC is possibly Georges St-Pierre. He would have to come back and win two championship fights to tie me.”
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Jones also believes he will put the debate completely out of reach should he capture the UFC heavyweight title and only add to his number of defenses and victories in title fight.
“And I’m not even retired yet. I’m 33 years old. I have a whole other chapter to go through,” Jones said. “You guys are nuts. I love you guys so much and hope you guys all have a great day. Fifteen world championships to four. And if all you guys are going with he’s more dominant argument, the guy just recently started fighting elite level competition. Could you imagine me against the No. 10 ranked guy?”