After securing the 29th straight win of his MMA career and 13th in UFC against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, the Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from the Octagon with a heartfelt tribute to his late father.
His father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who was also his lifelong coach and mentor, passed away earlier this year due to COVID-19 related complications. Khabib Nurmagomedov said in the post-fight interview that he does not want to continue without his father and that he has promised his mother this fight was his last outing in the Octagon.
In his first interview since announcing retirement, ‘The Eagle’ spoke with RT Sport about his retirement, future plans, and more.
Khabib Nurmagomedov addresses his decision to quit
Many people are questioning whether it was the right call to retire at the peak of his career. But Khabib Nurmagomedov stands by his decision of hanging up the fighting gloves.
“Of course, Dana (White) wants me to continue fighting and generate revenue. I can make money myself. I’m at the peak of my career and can fight for very large purses. But I made this decision and I think this is the best time. Not everyone can retire at their peak.”
Khabib said that he might be forced to re-evaluate the decision in one, two, or five years down the line. But there is really nothing left for him to do inside the Octagon, and he knows that.
“I did enough in the sport to be considered the best. Today I was ranked as the #1 pound-for-pound fighter, so the mission is accomplished. What else is there to do? Make money? I’ll always be able to do that.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov on his future plans
Now that he has retired, Khabib Nurmagomedov plans to focus more on his training facility in Dagestan named after his father.
“I think I’ll relax and analyze my situation. Life goes on and our MMA academy is still running. Islam Makhachev got a fight on November 14th in Las Vegas against a former Lightweight Champion. It’s a major event for our team.”
Islam Makhachev, who trains with Khabib, had a match with Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 254, which got postponed to Fight Night 183 on November 14 as the latter was tested COVID-positive.
Khabib Nurmagomedov added that they will try to book another fight for Makhachev before Ramadan so that he can become a title contender. He predicted that Makhachev will be there with his UFC belt in September or October next year.
He also shared that his retirement call came as a surprise to his mother, and talked about the one thing in the UFC 254 fight that did not go according to how they planned.
Watch the interview below:
Published 28 Oct 2020, 01:10 IST