"You can't really judge him" - Fedor Emelianenko talks about Khabib Nurmagomedov's decision to retire from MMA

Fedor Emelianenko (Left) and Khabib Nurmagomedov (Right)
Fedor Emelianenko (Left) and Khabib Nurmagomedov (Right)

MMA Pioneer Fedor Emelianenko thinks fans should respect Khabib Nurmagomedov's decision to retire because everyone has the right to make that choice.

Following the untimely death of his father in 2020, Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from professional fighting on the night that he defended the UFC lightweight title against interim champ Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

Personal loss and lack of competitive interest were at the core of Khabib's decision to hang up the gloves.

However, at 32 years of age, 'The Eagle' is still in his athletic prime and everyone in the MMA community, including UFC president Dana White, attempted to persuade him to reconsider the decision before finally accepting it.

Fedor Emelianenko has found himself on the opposite side of the equation in recent times as calls for his retirement have increased.

While speaking to Nolan King of MMA Junkie about Khabib's retirement, Fedor Emelianenko stated that others should not judge a fighter for his decisions. 'The Last Emperor' said-

"Every fighter has a right of choice. It's not up to the fans, it's up to the fighter. Khabib had his own way. He wanted to leave undefeated with his legacy. Again, it's up to the fighter. You can't really judge him. What you have to do is respect their opinion on what they want to do in their career."

While Khabib has comfortably ventured into other businesses since retirement, Fedor Emelianenko does not intend to stop competing even at 44 years of age.

As revealed by Bellator CEO Scott Coker, Emelianenko will fight on the Bellator card on October 24 in Moscow, Russia.

'The Last Emperor' has not fought in his home country since 2016 and will compete in Moscow for the first time since his unanimous decision win over Jeff Monson in 2011.

Khabib Nurmagomedov shuts down the possibility of his return to competition

MMA media has been persistent in knowing if there is still a possibility of Khabib Nurmagomedov coming out of retirement.

Khabib's teammate and longtime friend Islam Makhachev is perceived as the heir apparent to Khabib's dominance in the UFC. Currently ranked No.9 in the UFC lightweight division, Makhachev is on an upward trajectory in his MMA career and is expected to make a case for a UFC title shot eventually.

At a recent press conference in Russia, Khabib Nurmagomedov was asked if he would come out of retirement if Islam Makhachev fails to win UFC gold.

Khabib Nurmagomedov shut down the possibility of his return with a polite but stern reply to the question:

"If Islam fails, he is capable of taking care of himself. But we will be next to him - to help and never let him fail. As for myself, I have no desire to come back. And I don't think I ever will. Thank you. I hope you heard me." - Khabib Nurmagomedov via RT Sport transcription.

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Edited by Harvey Leonard