Thursday, May 19, 2022

Colby Covington: Oliveira’s Win “Delegitimizes” Khabib’s Legacy

UFC welterweight contender Colby Covington believes Charles Oliveira’s victory over Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 had a negative affect on the legacy of Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Oliveira’s incredible journey from the middle of the pack to top of the UFC continued in the main event of the final pay-per-view of 2021. Having won the title vacated by Khabib with a win against Michael Chandler at UFC 262 in May, “Do Bronx” made his first defense inside the T-Mobile Arena.

Heading into the contest, many branded Poirier the “uncrowned champion” and predicted he’d end a short reign for Oliveira on December 11. Despite looking on his way to doing so after a first-round knockdown, “The Diamond” fell short of the lightweight mountaintop yet again after being submitted with a third-frame rear-naked choke.

Covington: Khabib “Never Fought A High, High-Level Wrestler”

For Poirier, who’s built a similarly inspirational rise to the top as Oliveira, the chance to complete his journey with title glory collapsed in a chokehold at the hands of another elite grappler. His first challenge was beaten away by Khabib in the pair’s 2019 unification bout.

According to Covington, the fact Poirier was beaten by Oliveira in a similar fashion to his setback against Khabib has actually damaged “The Eagle.” During an appearance on Submission Radio, “Chaos” suggested the Dagestani’s legacy has been delegitimized by the Brazilian’s win and the fact Khabib didn’t face Oliveira before retiring.

“It definitely kinda delegitimizes his (Khabib) legacy. He never really fought a high, high-level wrestler that could challenge him, that was good, in both areas of striking and wrestling, and submissions and defensive wrestling. So, you know, there’s always been doubts about Khabib’s legacy. He had an interesting route and he took some time off in-between his career. He got good matchups, you know, people that didn’t know how to wrestle. Even, a lot of people thought that he lost to a guy I used to train with all the time, Tibau, Gleison Tibau. He won a split decision over him but a lot of people thought he lost that fight.

Gleison Tibau shares key to beat Khabib: 'If you can stop his takedowns, it  gets easier' - Bloody Elbow
Khabib vs. Gleison Tibau, UFC 148

“I definitely think that kinda puts a dampener into Khabib’s legacy. That guy’s (Poirier) going out there and getting submitted just like you did to him; the same exact way. So how would that matchup go with him and the Brazilian?”

While Oliveira’s latest success has certainly brought up questions regarding how a fight with Khabib would play out, it seems fans will never have the answer. Since hanging up his gloves following his victory over Justin Gaethje last October, “The Eagle” has consistently reiterated the commitment he has towards his retirement.

While Khabib continues to remain outside the cage, Oliveira will look to extend his reign beyond 2022 and succeed the number of title defenses accumulated by the Russian. If he’s to do so, he may have to halt the challenge of Khabib’s prodigy, Islam Makhachev, who’s set to feature in a likely title eliminator against Beneil Dariush early next year.

Do you agree with Colby Covington? Did Charles Oliveira’s victory over Dustin Poirier affect Khabib Nurmagomedov’s legacy?

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