UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov said Tuesday that Georges St-Pierre is the only person he’d be motivated to fight after Saturday’s bout against interim champ Justin Gaethje.
“I really become excited when I think about Georges St-Pierre,” Nurmagomedov said on ESPN’s First Take. “I don’t know if he wants to fight with me or not, can he make weight — 155 or not — but this fight makes me excited, honestly.
“And I think me vs. Georges is going to be very, very big fight. Like big fight for fans, big fight for pay-per-view, big fight for analytics, for everybody. This is only fight in UFC, after Gaethje, that makes me very excited.”
Nurmagomedov (28-0) will be favored when he puts his perfect record on the line against Gaethje (22-2) in the main event of UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi.
There has been speculation that Nurmagomedov’s next opponent would be the winner of the proposed bout between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23. Nurmagomedov submitted Poirier in the third round on Sept. 7, 2019, and he submitted McGregor in the fourth round on Oct. 6, 2018.
“I finished both of them, and finished in dominant position, a dominant performance,” Nurmagomedov said. “And I’m not interested in both of those guys, because I need something new. I need new blood, new energy. Justin Gaethje gives me new motivation. He’s the real deal. Right now, he’s interim champ, he’s very tough guy.
“If I think about both, Dustin and Conor, they don’t give me good energy, they don’t give me motivation. Fight for what? For my legacy? I already put these guys on my list. I already beat them. Everything is finished with these guys.”
Nurmagomedov said a couple more fights will be “great for my legacy,” and his father, Abdulmanap, who died in July of heart problems complicated by the coronavirus, had suggested his son retire with a 30-0 record.
St-Pierre, who’s one of the greatest fighters in MMA history, has flirted with the idea of coming out of retirement, but only to face Nurmagomedov.
“If I come back, it would be for one fight,” St-Pierre told ESPN on Oct. 7. “And I need to take, for me, the biggest fish. And the one — for me, I believe — the top guy right now, the name is Khabib.
“As a fighter, the most exciting thing is to take the guy who seems invincible, unbeatable. He has the aura of invincibility. But it’s also the scariest thing to do.”
St-Pierre, who hasn’t fought since beating Michael Bisping on Nov. 4, 2017, isn’t sure about dropping down to 155 pounds for the first time. He fought most of his career at 170 pounds.
UFC president Dana White has expressed an openness to granting Nurmagomedov’s wish about fighting GSP.