Michael Chandler has revealed that he was disappointed to see Khabib Nurmagomedov confirm his retirement last week during a recent interview with ESPN.
Nurmagomedov retired in the wake of his win over Justin Gaethje back at UFC 254. However, UFC president Dana White was hoping that he would be able to lure him back out of retirement for one more big payday.
Michael Chandler’s respect for Nurmagomedov shines through
In the end, Nurmagomedov stayed retired, leaving fans feeling pretty disappointed about the fact they would never see him compete inside the Octagon again.
One fighter who was disappointed to see the Eagle exit the sport was Michael Chandler.
“I mean, truthfully, when you get into this sport you want the biggest fights, you want the biggest stages, and you want the biggest challenges athletically. There’s no secret - Khabib is the biggest challenge, the hardest puzzle to solve. He’s still an animal when it comes to the ground game, the sambo, the top pressure, just mauling people," said Michael Chandler.
“That was something I wanted to experience, I wanted to take that challenge, but I think it was wishful thinking on everyone’s part that he was gonna come back. I think it was a foregone conclusion," Michael Chandler added.
The next step in the former Bellator star's journey will see him take on Charles Oliveira for the UFC lightweight title at UFC 262 - with the winner being the first champion of the post-Nurmagomedov era.
Michael Chandler managed to make an incredible impact on his UFC debut back in January when he brutally knocked out Dan Hooker.
Chandler still has a huge task ahead of him in Oliveira, but he’s never been one to back down from a challenge. Instead, he seems to really thrive under pressure - which is what he will face in his upcoming fight.
As for the Nurmagomedov situation, it always did seem as if he wasn’t going to go back on his word. Now that we officially know that the Eagle's career is all but done, it will be interesting to see how things play out in the lightweight division.