Daniel Cormier: I don’t know that we’ll ever see anybody more dominant than Khabib Nurmagomedov

Daniel Cormier points out the main difference between Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Both Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) and Nurmagomedov have notched three title defenses as lightweight champion – the division’s record in the UFC. With Nurmagomedov in his corner, Makhachev retained his lightweight title by submitting Dustin Poirier in Saturday’s UFC 302 main event.

Nurmagomedov’s (29-0 MMA, 13-0 UFC) title defenses came over Conor McGregor, Poirier, and Justin Gaethje before he decided to hang up his gloves. Cormier discussed their performances against common opponent Poirier.

“I don’t know that it’s fair to compare them, especially based on the common opponent, because I believe Dustin Poirier was better because he had the opportunity to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov,” Cormier said on his ESPN show “Good Guy/Bad Guy” with Chael Sonnen.

“He had felt that strength in grappling – a little bit of a recognition of what he would be facing when he got in the octagon. I was one of the people that said early, and I said I think Islam Makhachev is more dangerous than Khabib because of his striking. But as I reflect on this, as a guy that’s been in there with both, I don’t know if we’ll ever see anyone as dominant as Khabib.”

Cormier explains that Makhachev’s willingness to stand on the feet puts him in more risky situations than Nurmagomedov, who had one specific, but unstoppable way of winning fights.

“I’m not saying that Islam was losing the fight on Saturday,” Cormier said. “There were times, though, where it looked competitive. How often did you see Khabib Nurmagomedov not look outwardly dominant? That is where I think you make the difference. We don’t know what would’ve happened if Khabib stayed for a while, but … history tells us he’d probably still be holding onto that championship right now with about eight or nine title defenses and still kind of dominating the way that he did.

“So when I watch them, I think the dominance is different because Islam will stand with you more than Khabib was willing to. But it was in the idea that you knew exactly what Khabib Nurmagomedov was going to do to you and nobody could stop it. With Islam, sure, you’ve got more things to worry about – you’ve got to worry about the striking. But with Khabib, he literally would tell you, ‘I am going to take you down and maul you and beat you up,’ and no one could stop it. I don’t know that we’ll ever see anybody more dominant than him.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie