Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement after his last fight at UFC 254 when he submitted Justin Gaethje in round two of their title unification bout. For about five months, UFC President Dana White tried to get the 29-0, now former champion to get one more huge fight as his farewell fight. But last week, the UFC made it official and the lightweight division’s title will be up for grabs at UFC 262.
That does not mean Nurmagomedov will be stepping away from the sport entirely. When he spoke with Megan Olivi on ESPN last weekend he spoke about his legacy and reasons for no longer competing. But, he made sure to let fans know, “I’m not gonna let you miss me.”
Nurmagomedov to fans: “I’m not gonna let you miss me.”
“I have my brothers, they are still fighting in the UFC,” Nurmagomedov told Olivi. “I’m going to support them, and next week my brother Abubakar is gonna fight. July, maybe June/July Islam will have his first main event in UFC, he’s going to fight.”
Not long after this interview, Luke Rockhold said that Nurmagomedov had offered to coach him as well and said that Nurmagomedov wanted to be “coach of the year.” When looking at the records of the fighters Nurmagomedov mentioned to Olivi, that might not be a far-off claim for the undefeated lightweight.
He has already cornered fighters in the UFC, PFL and with his cousin, Usman fighting in Bellator MMA not only will he not be far from the UFC, but it looks like he will be close to the sport for a while.
Excited for this one.
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) February 25, 2021
While it seems common in professional sports for athletes to retire only to return not long after, Khabib Nurmagomedov seems like he will stick to his, as long as he is helping other fighters try to chase greatness. Something he obviously picked up from his dad.
Edward holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Along with over 20 years martial arts experience, he co-hosts The Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour, and also writes for Sherdog while maintaining his own site, The Blogboard Jungle. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel