It appears that UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is going ahead with his retirement, leaving his potential rematch with Conor McGregor behind. There was a lot of chatter in the MMA community that “The Eagle” wouldn’t actually leave the sport, however, Nurmagomedov put the nail in the coffin on Friday.
Speaking with Russian media, Nurmagomedov said he has “no plans to continue fighting.”
Last month, The Eagle announced he was retiring from the sport. The Eagle defended his lightweight belt for the third time, defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on October 24. During his post-fight interview, the Russian said he was hanging up his gloves for good.
Since then, UFC president Dana White has told the media several times that he doesn’t believe Nurmagomedov is done. The Eagle’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, also fueled speculation that Nurmagomedov would fight one more time.
But, contrary to White and Abdelaziz, Nurmagomedov appears to be done. The lightweight champion said via RT Sport:
There will always be rumors about my comeback because Dana White or other promoters who could replace him in the future will always want me to fight. It’s all about big money, views and media coverage. So, I am sure they will keep chasing me. You have just finished one fight and fans right away start looking forward to your next one. They always want the show to go on. But, I have no plans to continue fighting. What if I fight one more time? They will have another contender for me who is on a 7-8 fight win streak. Another wrestler with great striking. They are very good at raising heroes, building up big stars. It’s just a neverending story.
ALL the latest UFC news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on UFC newsletter here!
Nurmagomedov Said His ‘Mission Has Been Accomplished’
Nurmagomedov said that he has all the ability to continue fighting, however the Russian has already reached the goals he set out for himself in MMA.
“Of course, I could possibly fight until I’m 40, or 45, like Fedor [Emelianenko],” Nurmagomedov continued. “But there must be a purpose to it, a goal. My goal was to reach the summit, I did it. So I don’t see any competitive interest to stay in the game. Who else is there to fight for me? And even if there is one, my mission has been accomplished.”
Nurmagomedov knows how big of his name and draw he is, as well as the money that comes with it. But, he’s not concerned with that.
“I am in my prime and there’s still tons of money I could earn,” The Eagle said. “But, I had a different goal. And, as for money, from now on we will earn it somewhere else.
Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
The Anticipated Rematch With Conor McGregor Has Been Derailed
Ever since UFC superstar Conor McGregor returned to the Octagon in January, there have been calls by some for a rematch with him and Nurmagomedov. The two bitter rivals fought in October 2018 at UFC 229 and The Eagle defeated “Notorious” by fourth-round submission.
UFC 229 is the best-selling pay-per-view in the promotion’s history and the rematch had the potential to do even better. However, the megafight between the two foes appears to be derailed for good and fans will never again see the two standing opposite from each other inside the cage.