UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov doesn’t seem to have any interest left in coming back to the fight-game.
Nurmagomedov (29-0 MMA, 13-0 UFC) is still recognized by the UFC as lightweight champion despite announcing his retirement nearly three months ago. At this past Saturday’s UFC on ABC 1, UFC president Dana White proclaimed that during a meeting in Abu Dhabi, Nurmagomedov expressed being open to returning to the octagon. If someone did something spectacular this Saturday, he could potentially be persuaded to fight.
White went on the UFC on ABC 1 broadcast and indicated that Nurmagomedov’s future depends on what happens next week at UFC 257, where Conor McGregor fights Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler meets Dan Hooker at the top of the card – even Charles Oliveira could be in the mix.
“His words to me were, ‘I’m gonna watch this fight.’ He said, ‘I would never tie up the division, hold the belt, and keep the belt away from anybody else. If these guys do something spectacular, show me something spectacular, and make me want to come back and fight,’” White said. “So I have the feeling if somebody delivers, it could be on the co-main event or the main event, and he thought Oliveira looked good (vs. Tony Ferguson). … If these guys can do something special, Khabib will fight them.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov in talks about his MMA
In a recent interview given to Russian news outlet Sport24, Nurmagomedov indicated fighting is not part of his current plans, and he doesn’t see an opponent that motivates a return to the octagon.
According to the translation of Nurmagomedov in the video, the lightweight champ said he’d “achieved almost everything in this sport” and didn’t have the drive that justified breaking a promise he made to his mother after his most recent fight, a submission win over Justin Gathje that unified the lightweight title and extended his unbeaten streak to 29 fights.
“I know that there are many fighters who would like to earn money, who strive for something,” he said. “What should I do? A lot of people don’t want to understand my side. I don’t see that yet.”
Nurmagomedov, who was in Abu Dhabi cornering cousin Umar Nurmagomedov for his submission win over Sergey Morozov at Wednesday’s UFC on ESPN 20, says he has other things taking up his time right now, including his Eagle Fighting Championships promotion. Training for a fight simply isn’t on his plate.
“If we talk about all my business projects, I have so much to do that is planned,” He said. “And fights are not in these plans.
“I train for myself. The biggest thing that gives me pleasure is training. I enjoy when I wrestle, run, spar, work on pads when I work on the punch bags. This is what I have been doing all my life, and I will continue to train constantly, as well. But if we talk about the fights, they are not a part of my plans.”
“My mother is the most precious thing I have left,” he said. “Come on, you won’t push me to do things that will disappoint my mother.”
Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from MMA in October after he scored a submission win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. After the heartbreaking death of his father and head coach, Abdulmanap, over the summer, Khabib said he promised his mother that he would no longer compete, despite an original aspiration to go 30-0 in his career.
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