Khabib Nurmagomedov got his wish.
Following a dominant second-round submission finish over Justin Gaethje in the UFC 254 main event, the undefeated UFC lightweight champion asked for consideration as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.
“I know only one thing I want from UFC, you guys have to be me on No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, because I deserve this,” Nurmagomedov said after his victory. “UFC undisputed, undefeated lightweight champion, 13-0, 13 in UFC, 29 in all pro MMA career. I think I deserve it.”
With a 29-0 record including three consecutive title defenses while losing only two rounds during his entire UFC career, Nurmagomedov certainly had an argument to sit atop that list.
On Tuesday, the UFC released their updated rankings with Nurmagomedov officially overtaking Jon Jones as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the promotion.
“It was work of my life, I never got anything easy, and nothing was given to me because I’m nice guy,” Nurmagomedov said about his ranking via Instagram. “Hard work, hope for Allah and patience, this three ingredient helps me to get successful, and of course, control and advises from my Father, who invested in me a lot of time and work.”
It’s unclear how longer Nurmagomedov will get to enjoy that spot considering he also announced his retirement from the sport on Saturday, which typically results in a fighter being pulled from the rankings.
Of course, Nurmagomedov is still considered an active fighter on the UFC roster until he at least notifies the United States Anti-Doping Agency to pull him from the drug testing pool, which would then all but cement his retirement.
For now, he will enjoy the new No. 1 pound-for-pound ranking much to Jones’ chagrin, who has argued against anybody taking the top spot over him when considering his long list of accomplishments in the UFC.
“15 world titles, numbers don’t lie,” Jones wrote on Twitter following Nurmagomedov’s win. “Definitely a powerful moment, but my logic is definitely not clouded. I’ve won 15 world titles, he just won his 4th. The fact that this is even a conversation is mine blowing to me.”
Initially, Jones conceded the pound-for-pound ranking to help celebrate Nurmagomedov after announcing his retirement but that was short-lived as he later explained why he’s been ranked No. 1 for so long.
Jones also expressed disdain for those advocating that Nurmagomedov is now somehow the greatest of all time following his latest win. The former light heavyweight champion pointed towards his decade long reign of terror at 205 pounds where he went undefeated (outside of a lone disqualification loss) while taking out six former UFC champions along the way.
Unfortunately for Jones he’s going to have to deal with being No. 2 to Nurmagomedov for now after the updated rankings knocked him out of the top spot.
Who should be the UFC’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter?
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