Ariel Helwani dubs Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Georges St-Pierre as the LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Stephen Curry of the MMA world.
On a recent episode of MMA Fighting’s The MMA Hour podcast, host Helwani was asked to name fighters similar to the three NBA icons.
Ariel Helwani began by comparing Conor McGregor to Lebron James, the most popular basketball player.
“The Notorious” is arguably the biggest star in MMA. Helwani says it is reasonable to compare McGregor to James. He also mentioned that both James and McGregor had divisive personalities.
Jordan was dubbed “the greatest of all time” by Ariel Helwani, who likened him to the famous Georges St-Pierre. After comparing Nurmagomedov to Curry, the renowned writer drew parallels with Jordan. He said that, like ‘The Eagle,’ Jordan retired young (before making his comeback) and at the pinnacle of his game:
“Who’s the LeBron of MMA? I mean I guess it’s Conor right? Big star, he’s won some championships, polarizing for different reasons. Who’s the greatest of all time Jordan? ‘GSP’. Who’s the Steph? I don’t know, Khabib is? Is Jordan Khabib because he kind of walked away young top of his game but sort of ‘GSP’, I don’t know, it’s a tough one. “
Only one of the three boxers, Ariel Helwani, linked to NBA icons is still active
Only Conor McGregor is still an active fighter in the UFC of the three fighters identified by Ariel Helwani. Khabib Nurmagomedov and Georges St-Pierre have announced their retirements. Nurmagomedov went away after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October 2020.
One of the most emotional moments in sporting history 🙏
Justin Gaethje goes over to console Khabib Nurmagomedov as he cries on the Octagon floor.
– BT Sport (@btsport) October 25, 2020
Meanwhile, ‘GSP’ retired after winning the middleweight title in 2017 by defeating Michael Bisping at UFC 217. Surprisingly, Nurmagomedov and St-Pierre both retired as champs. Nurmagomedov now runs his own MMA organization, Eagle FC.
A show of respect between two greats with over 5️⃣0️⃣ wins between them…
– UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) February 21, 2019
McGregor suffered a horrific leg injury last year and has yet to return. However, he is expected to compete this year.
The Irishman is 1-3 in his last four fights and has to win his next battle to get back on track. His star power will remain intact, win or lose. However, at 33 years old and with back-to-back stoppage losses last year, the former two-division UFC champion appears to be ageing.
It makes one question how many more battles he has left in him before calling it quits on his career.
Also Read: Georges St-Pierre discusses how he would defeat Kamaru Usman