Ex-UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight title ruler Daniel Cormier has been asked to name his favorite all-time and current Russian fighters while boldly claiming that retired Khabib Nurmagomedov could have gone on to 50-0.
Asked a host of questions at a press event ahead of UFC 267 at the weekend, Cormier was then probed on his favorite Russian fighter of all time.
“Oh, really? Anybody want to answer this?” he pressed the crowd with a smile on his face, to which the most obvious response came back.
As former training partners at the American Kickboxing Academy gym, it is no secret that lightweight legend Khabib is one of Cormier’s closest friends in MMA and is therefore safely his number one in brawlers to have come out of the world’s largest country.
“Yes, thank you. Khabib Nurmagomedov, man. This is crazy,” DC confirmed.
“I get accused of being in love with Khabib. You can’t ask me that and think that I’m gonna say anybody else.
“It’s Khabib. The dude’s the man. He’s the greatest.”
“I think he’s the greatest of all time,” DC reiterated, of the Dagestani who bowed out on 29-0.
“I think he could have did this thing until he was 50-0 if he wanted to. That’s how good Khabib was.”
When it was put to him who his favorite current Russian fighter was, though, Cormier was just as assured.
“Islam Makhachev,” he said. “It’s Islam.”
“I like my teammates. Man, those guys are killers, bro. You’ll see tomorrow,” he warned, ahead of the lightweight contender’s meeting with Dan Hooker.
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“Now Islam is facing the toughest challenge of his life,” Cormier pointed out.
“Dan Hooker is an absolute savage. And I’m excited to see how and if he can manage this challenge.”
With Khabib’s guidance, Makhachev did indeed handle Hooker and finished him with a first-round submission that put him firmly in the 155lbs title picture.