At UFC 254 this past November, Khabib Nurmagomedov successfully defended his lightweight title with a second-round submission of Justin Gaethje. Following the victory, Khabib announced his retirement from MMA, citing the passing of his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. Since then, UFC President Dana White has repeatedly attempted to lure Nurmagomedov back for one more fight but to no avail, and despite White’s insistence that he isn’t giving up on Khabib just yet, it seems that the UFC lightweight champion is ready to move on with his life, at least for now.
“Every day I woke up in the morning and started training, and in the evening my body was exhausted, because I had brought it to the limit,” Khabib told Esquire Middle East. “I just want to live a life in which I can get at least a little sleep before lunchtime, to live for myself and not devote myself 100 percent to sports.”
Nurmagomedov retired from MMA with one of the most successful careers in the history of the sport. Making his professional debut in 2008, Khabib went undefeated for 12 years, amassing a perfect record of 29-0, including winning the UFC lightweight title and defending it three times. It’s understandable that given his years of dedication and the death of his father, along with the fact that he has nothing left to prove, that Nurmagomedov is ready to move on to other ventures, including helping his teammates achieve their own success in MMA.
“Now that I’m not going to train any more, I have people close to me—brothers and friends—who are now fighting at the highest level,” Nurmagomedov said. “There are about five or six people who we are building the path with, and I will help them, train with them, share my experiences. . . To some extent, this can be called a coaching life, but I am not going to fully enter into coaching. I will always be there and share my experience.”
Chief among those “brothers and friends” is Islam Makhachev. Makhachev is Nurmgaomedov’s longtime training partner and was anointed as the successor to Khabib by Abdulmanap, when Khabib should finally step away from the sport. Now that that has happened, Nurmagomedov believes the era of Makhachev will be upon us soon.
“Now, everybody talks about Dustin (Poirier), Conor (McGregor), (Michael) Chandler, Justin (Gaethje), (Charles) Oliveira,” Nurmagomedov told ESPN in a separate interview. “But by the end of the year, it’s gonna be changed. I don’t think anyone can beat (Makhachev) right now. He will run (the division).”
Makhachev gets his chance to validate Nurmagomedov’s belief in him this weekend when he faces Drew Dober at UFC 259. A win would be the 29-year old’s seventh in a row, and with the backing of the greatest lightweight of all time, would set Makhachev up to begin his own ascent up the 155-pound ranks.
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) March 1, 2021
Boom with a solid point about Khamzat.
Retirements make for even bigger comebacks.. remember that
— Brian BOOM Kelleher (@brianboom135) March 2, 2021
Jon really is sensitive about a guy he beat up twice.
— BONY (@JonnyBones) March 2, 2021
There is a difference punch vs kick, you’re still as dumb as you’ve always been, you’ll never surprise me. Dance for me, I can always make you move. And lastly , this fight didn’t count if you forgot there was an issue…… remember? https://t.co/JMP2lVXP9R
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) March 2, 2021
— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) March 1, 2021
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This guy goes for it.
New challenger for Triple C's Cringe Crown! pic.twitter.com/R6CquwzSal
— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) March 1, 2021
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.