What If Khabib Nurmagomedov Competed in GLORY Kickboxing?

what if khabib
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - SEPTEMBER 07: (R-L) Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia kicks Dustin Poirier in their lightweight championship bout during UFC 242 at The Arena on September 7, 2019 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

There is no discussion. Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the most dominant fighters to ever step foot into the UFC cage. His use of aggressive pressure-wrestling to overwhelm opponents earned him victories over top-lightweights including Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, and Conor McGregor. Of his 13 UFC fights, “The Eagle” lost just two rounds.

Undefeated in the sport of MMA, Nurmagomedov will forever be recognized as one of the greatest combat sport athletes of all time. We pose the question, what if Khabib competed in Glory Kickboxing?

What if Khabib Nurmagomedov Competed in GLORY Kickboxing?

Khabib Nurmagomedov does have several TKO/KO victories to his name. He finished Thiago Tavares in 2013 with a flurry of strikes that started with a lead lunging uppercut. In 2011 prior to his UFC stint, Khabib knocked out Ashot Shaginyan and Arymarcel Santos.

How Khabib Would Fair

Khabib’s greatest attribute, his grappling skill, would be completely thwarted in GLORY Kickboxing. However, this does not mean Khabib would be helpless. He has shown that he is able to strike. In fact, he arguably outstruck Conor McGregor in their 2018 lightweight title bout. McGregor entered the bout as ‘the striker’, but failed to impress on the feet.

The greatest challenge Khabib would have to overcome would be the kicking aspect of kickboxing. Khabib’s aggressive forward movement would likely be scouted and checked with kicks. Khabib, fighting at 155 lbs, would face the likes of Josh Jauncey and Guerric Billet, masters of range. Khabib would have to schedule kickboxing classes with his local bear to prepare for such.

The Verdict

Khabib, a premier athlete and world champion, would adapt to kickboxing and would find ways to win fights. However, you don’t learn something new overnight or even over a few months—James Toney could attest to this. When faced with top kickboxing athletes like Jauncey and Billet, Khabib would falter.

Like this article? This is the second article of the series What If? where we will take top athletes from various combat sports and place them in a different environment.

Note: This is not a serious article. By no means do we suggest that Khabib Nurmagomedov will be transitioning to kickboxing (let alone return to MMA) in the future. The article is for entertainment purposes only.

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