Just this past week UFC president Dana White spoke with UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov about his return to the Octagon. The meeting was behind closed doors and as the world waited to hear what came of this meeting, rumors began to swirl. Some believed that Nurmagomedov would not be returning, some thought maybe he would return to face the legend Georges St-Pierre, but what White announced was something different. White said Nurmagomedov would consider returning if he saw something special out of the current contenders fighting on the UFC 257 card this Saturday night. Now in his first interview since that meeting, Nurmagomedov clears up his actual intentions.
“Let’s start with what drives people. Hunger? There must be some motivation, some hunger. If you’re not hungry, you know, I’ve been in sports for so many years,” Nurmagoemdov told Sports24ru. “I’ve been doing it all my life. I have achieved almost everything in this sport and there isn’t someone who I would like to fight now. I know there are many fighters who would like to earn money, who strive for something, What should I do? A lot of people don’t understand my side. I don’t see that yet.”
This “something special” that White described as a great showing by either McGregor, Poirier, Chandler, or Hooker, doesn’t actually seem like what Nurmagomedov intends at all. It seems more that he will wait until he is excited about an opponent to face. not just fight because the UFC or the fans want him to.
“If we talk about all my business projects, I have so much to do, that is planned and fights are not in these plans,” Nurmagomedov said. “I train for myself. The biggest thing that gives me pleasure is training., but if we talk about the fights, they are not part of my plans. We don’t know what will happen in 2022, 2023, you know, so let’s not talk about it. No one knows what will happen tomorrow. I don’t even have any plans for the UFC in the near future. I don’t even have any thoughts about preparing for the fight. I’ve sacrificed a lot to get to this level.”
Nurmagomedov also talked about the promise he made to his mother following the death of his father about not returning to fighting. He said he would not disappoint his mother. He also has his hands full running his own fight organization. Maybe down the road, she may allow him to return and if he sees an opportunity to do so the “Eagle” may soar again.