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'Nobody wants him to return' - Islam Makhachev talks about how Khabib's friends and family supported his retirement

Islam Makhachev (left); Khabib Nurmagomedov (right)
Islam Makhachev (left); Khabib Nurmagomedov (right)
Johny Payne
Modified 24 Mar 2021

Islam Makhachev has shed light upon how Khabib Nurmagomedov’s friends and family supported his retirement. Makhachev revealed that none of Nurmagomedov’s friends and family wanted to see him return.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is widely regarded as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. Nurmagomedov is a former UFC lightweight champion who retired from the sport of MMA with an undefeated 29-0 record.

Nurmagomedov’s last fight was a second-round submission win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October 2020. The UFC lightweight champion bested the interim UFC lightweight champion Gaethje and successfully unified the titles. After the successful title unification bout, Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from the sport of MMA.

In an interview with RT Sport MMA, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s childhood friend and training partner Islam Makhachev opened up on how Nurmagomedov’s family and friends supported his retirement. Makhachev stated:

“He made that decision a long time ago. The UFC and everyone else didn’t want to believe it. It was clear when he left his gloves in the octagon. We know that Khabib is a man of his word. People asked me if he’ll come back. I told them he won’t because if he says he’s done, then that’s it.”
With regard to the speculation that Khabib Nurmagomedov could potentially return for a fight if there’s an interesting offer, Islam Makhachev said, “I’m not sure. If his family urged him, or if his friends said that he needs to fight a certain guy, or that there’s an important fight – If everyone close to him came together and talked to him, there might’ve been a chance. But nobody wants him to return. The whole ordeal was very emotional for him.” (*Quotes and translation courtesy: RT Sport MMA)

Furthermore, Islam Makhachev alluded to Khabib’s father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov’s passing. Islam Makhachev noted that the entire ordeal – losing his father in July 2020 and then competing at UFC 254 in October 2020 after his father’s demise – was ‘very emotional’ for Khabib.

Islam Makhachev looks to follow in Khabib Nurmagomedov’s footsteps and win UFC gold

Islam Makhachev (left); Khabib Nurmagomedov (right)
Islam Makhachev (left); Khabib Nurmagomedov (right)

In the aftermath of his UFC 254 win, Khabib Nurmagomedov revealed that the primary reason he retired was that his mother didn’t want him to continue his fighting career without his father by his side. The belief is that Khabib, who’s often emphasized that he won’t go against his mother’s wishes, is unlikely to ever return to pro MMA competition again.

On the contrary, Islam Makhachev is still an active MMA competitor. He looks set to follow in his friend’s footsteps and win UFC gold. Makhachev is regarded by many as a potential future champion in the UFC lightweight division.

Published 24 Mar 2021, 06:04 IST
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