MMA legend and UFC icon Khabib Nurmagomedov competed in his final MMA fight at UFC 254 (October 24th, 2020), defeating Justin Gaethje via second-round submission. The fight witnessed Nurmagomedov successfully unify the UFC lightweight title.
‘The Eagle’ then proceeded to announce his retirement from the sport of MMA. Khabib revealed that following the passing of his father, legendary coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, in July 2020, his (Khabib’s) mother didn’t want him to continue his fighting career without his father by his side.
Resultantly, Khabib competed one last time, in October 2020, and then bid adieu to the sport of MMA. The UFC and Khabib came to terms with his retirement in March 2021. The UFC subsequently booked a fight between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler for the vacant lightweight title.
Having competed in the UFC for more than a decade, the 31-year-old Charles Oliveira finally realized his dream of reaching the pinnacle of the sport by capturing UFC gold. Oliveira defeated Michael Chandler via second-round TKO at UFC 262 (May 15th, 2021) and won the vacant UFC lightweight title.
On that note, in an interview with MMA Fighting, Charles Oliveira had the following to say regarding Khabib Nurmagomedov –
“Many people told me to wear a shirt taking shots at (Nurmagomedov) or say something about him in the end. Khabib is a great champion, 29-0, and deserves all the respect in the world. He came in and was always dominant with his style. He retired because his father passed away, and he deserves more respect because of that. He swore over his father’s grave he wouldn’t fight again and if it has to be up to me to say something for him to come back, he’ll stay retired. Everybody would love to see this fight, of course. I would also love to see this fight, but I don’t see myself under his shadow.”
Additionally, Charles Oliveira noted that Khabib Nurmagomedov claims he’s defeated everyone in the UFC lightweight division. Oliveira emphasized that Nurmagomedov has never fought him and therefore can’t say that he’s defeated everyone.
‘Do Bronx’ suggested that Nurmagomedov has defeated everyone he fought, but not everyone in the division. That said, Charles Oliveira reiterated that he believes Nurmagomedov deserves all the respect in the world.
Furthermore, Charles Oliveira asserted that what Nurmagomedov has done is wonderful. Oliveira noted, however, that he is now the new UFC lightweight champion – a champion who fights with the intention of finishing his opponents. Oliveira also pointed out that a new era and new legacy have begun.
With Khabib Nurmagomedov retired, Charles Oliveira could face Dustin Poirier or Conor McGregor in his first UFC title defense
Khabib Nurmagomedov has consistently maintained that he has no intentions of competing as a professional MMA fighter ever again. Considering that, the winner of the upcoming UFC 264 (July 10th, 2021) trilogy fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor is regarded as next in line for a shot at the lightweight title.
Although plans could change down the line, presently, the consensus is that Charles Oliveira’s first UFC lightweight title defense will be against the winner of the UFC 264 Poirier vs McGregor fight.