Jon Jones or Khabib Nurmagomedov- Who is The Better Fighter?

Published 03/16/2021, 5:05 AM EDT
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – SEPTEMBER 07: Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia prepares to enter the Octagon prior to his lightweight championship bout against Dustin Poirier during UFC 242 at The Arena on September 7, 2019 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


What is the most important thing that an MMA fan considers before deciding who the GOAT (Greatest of all time) is? Is it a championship? That won’t narrow the list down. Is it multiple championships? That narrows the list down to an elite few, but it discriminates against those stuck to their weight class—for example, Jon Jones and Khabib Nurmagomedov.

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It’s a comparison that cannot be resolved directly. They both will never fight in a match due to the vast difference in their weight classes, and so, it’s left to us to debate and come to a conclusion.

HOUSTON, TEXAS – FEBRUARY 08: Jon Jones celebrates his victory over Dominick Reyes in their light heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 247 event at Toyota Center on February 08, 2020, in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The first thing a fighter is judged on is their record. Khabib Nurmagomedov holds a perfect record of 29-0-0. He is undefeated, and it doesn’t get any better than that. On the other hand, Jon Jones has a record of 26-1-0, with his only loss coming against Matt Hamill in a controversial decision.

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Since then, Jones has defended his light heavyweight title 14 times and has gone undefeated. He is an excellent fighter and is unarguably the greatest light heavyweight of all time.

Khabib Nurmagomedov and his fighting style

Khabib is rightfully regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, along with Georges St. Pierre. He has secured the highest amount of takedowns in the UFC for a single match with 21 and has won 11 fights via submission. The most recent of these came in his victory over Justin Gaethje, where he defended his lightweight title for the 3rd time.

He is no slouch on the feet and has also finished eight fights via knockouts. Furthermore, he is not a bad striker by any means. However, if you compare his striking to the other fighters in his division, it becomes subpar.

Fighters like Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor are some of the best strikers in the division, but no one could compete with Khabib’s dominant wrestling.

LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 06: (R-L) Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia attempts to submit Conor McGregor of Ireland in their UFC lightweight championship bout during the UFC 229 event inside T-Mobile Arena on October 6, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Jon Jones and his fighting style

Similarly, ‘Bones’ has dominated his division for years now. He recently moved up to heavyweight, but after several years of total control, who can blame him.

He is an excellent striker with an incredibly high fight IQ. His striking accuracy is 58% which is exponentially high for someone who tries as many shots as he does.

LAS VEGAS – DECEMBER 5: Matt Hamill (camo/black shorts) def. Jon Jones (red shorts) – Disqualification (illegal elbows) – 4:14 round 1 during The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale at The Pearl at the Palms on December 5, 2009, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

His takedown defense comes in at 95%, second only to Kamaru Usman, who has never been taken down in the UFC. This means that Jones has been taken down only once in 20 attempts.

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This should tell you something about his grappling skills and ground game. He combined his talents on the feet with those on the ground and became the all-conquering force we all see today.

In the end, we are left with two fighters who have almost similar records and an eery likeness in the manner of their dominance. They have impacted the world of MMA heavily, and people will remember them for years to come.

However, it seems like Jones has edged it out against Khabib because of his incredible striking.

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Who do you think is the better fighter between Jon Jones and Khabib Nurmagomedov?

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Aniket Awasthi

416 articles

Aniket Awasthi is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. This STEM undergraduate combines an insatiable urge to write with his admiration for MMA and the UFC in general to enhance his journalism. He calls charismatic names like Chael Sonnen and 'The Count' Michael Bisping as his favorite fighters, but he is a great admirer of the rise of Israel Adesanya ever since he fought Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221.

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