Will Khabib come back to fight again after UFC 254 retirement?
The 32-year-old Russian UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov recently defended his title against an interim champion Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. Following his dominant 2nd round victory over the challenger, “The Eagle” shocked the MMA world and announced his retirement from the sport.
In his post-fight interview, Nurmagomedov said that he had promised his mother that UFC 254 fight against Gaethje would be his last:
“She don’t want me to go fight without father, but I promised her it’s gonna be my last fight. And if I give my word, I have to follow this…”
We are all wondering if Khabib’s performance against Gaethje was the last time we’ve seen “The Eagle” fight in the UFC.
Is Nurmagomedov retired for real or it was an emotional decision which he will re-evaluate and will come back inside the octagon at some point in 2021?
Nurmagomedov announcing his retirement from the sport after such a dominant performance at UFC 254 was a shocker for many fans but we already knew it was a possibility. Khabibs father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, wanted Khabib to get to a 30-0 record and retire undefeated at the peak of his career.
Nurmagomedov did not plan to become one of the “gatekeepers” or former champs that fight for a paycheck until their late 30’s/early 40’s. Khabib made plenty of money in the last few years since he became the UFC lightweight champion and he is basically set for life financially.
No one knows exactly will Khabib come out of retirement or not. There is a possibility that he will change his mind and make a return to make his father’s wish come true (to get to 30-0 record and retire afterwards).
An interesting fact, the UFC did not strip Khabib of the title and did not remove “The Eagle” from the rankings as they did earlier this year to Henry Cejudo as soon as he announced his retirement. As of January of 2021, Nurmagomedov is listed as the champion in the UFC’s lightweight rankings.
It’s hard to believe it’s a coincidence – the UFC President Dana White most certainly spoke to Nurmagomedov about his decision to retire after the fight with Justin Gaethje. And Dana did say to the media “I think he wants one more and I think he’s got one more in him...”
Khabib will discuss his UFC return with Dana White in January
Dana White and Khabib Nurmagomedov should have a meeting in January prior to UFC 257 which is when we might get a better idea of Khabib’s future in the UFC.
And take a guess who else is going to be in Abu Dhabi at the same time? “The Notorious” Conor McGregor will be fighting former UFC lightweight interim champion, Dustin Poirier, on January 23rd at UFC 257. If you are playing daily fantasy sports, make sure to check out our UFC 257 DraftKings picks and lineup strategy.
Accidentally or not, Khabib’s cousin, Umar Nurmagomedov, is scheduled to make his UFC debut in the undercard of the McGregor vs Poirier event. “The Eagle” will be at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi helping out Umar and the possibility that Khabib will run into Conor somewhere/somehow during the fight week is definitely there.
If Conor McGregor beats Dustin Poirier in front of Khabib and makes a bold statement by calling out the undefeated Dagestani champion for a rematch, we will hear a lot of hype about a Khabib vs McGregor rematch in 2021. From there, it will be Dana White’s job to convince Nurmagomedov to overturn his decision to retire and accept one last bout with Conor which will be the biggest fight in the history of the sport.
Either way, we will have a better idea of where Khabib stands regarding his UFC retirement and if he will change his mind and come back for one more fight at some point within the next few months. A lot of it will depend on the outcome of the UFC 257, McGregor vs Poirier bout, and Dana White’s meeting with Khabib in Abu Dhabi.
What is your opinion on this matter? Do you think Khabib will stay retired or he will come back for one more fight and try to go for 30-0? Please share your opinion in the comment’s section below.