Khabib Nurmagomedov Says Returning to The Cage Was Never Considered
By FCF Staff
For weeks, Dana White reported he was hopeful he could convince Khabib Nurmagomedov to fight again. But, the undefeated, retired star says walking back from his retirement was never an option.
Nurmagomedov shocked many throughout the MMA world in October, when after he choked out Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, he announced he was retiring.The vaunted wrestler relayed that after his father passed away last year, due to complications stemming from COVID-19, he promised his mother he would retire.
Leading up to the fight, the consensus was that the 32-year-old would return for at least one more bout, in pursuit of the 30-0 mark. On account of that, White believed he had a chance at convincing Khabib to fight again, and he met with the now, former lightweight champ a couple of times.
Following Nurmagomedov’s latest meeting with White last week, in which he repeated he is retired, he told ESPN this (quote via MMA Junkie).
“(I never contemplated a return after retiring). Dana called this official, but I retired like four, six months ago,” Nurmagomedov said. “It’s very funny: Dana told me when he posted that someone commented saying, ‘Hey, he retired not today, he retired about five months ago,’ and I was like it’s funny. We had some conversations with Dana a couple of times and like two days ago we meet with him to talk like two real men. We had a very good conversation with them, good dinner, and I really appreciated him not only for me, but all the sport.”
“…It’s very hard when you have power, when you’re the best in the world, when you’re famous, have money and say to everything like this, ‘No,’” Nurmagomedov said. “It’s very hard. People maybe will never understand me, but I really hope they’re going to support my decision because everyone has their views.
“My view and my relationship with my mother, I feel like I have to stop because I feel like in every fight, every training camp, this takes some age away from my mother. And it’s like what do I have to do? I came to this sport to show who I am and became the best, I’m world champion, and pound-for-pound No. 1. I defended my title three times. I defended my title in biggest fight of UFC history. What else? Only money-fights, but I don’t need money.”
After White’s last meeting with Nurmagomedov, it was announced that the title has officially been vacated, and that Charles Oliveira will fight Michael Chandler for the belt, May 15th.