Khabib Nurmagomedov says he would only return to UFC with mother’s blessing

Alex Pattle
·2-min read
Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from MMA with a perfect record of 29-0 (Getty Images)
Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from MMA with a perfect record of 29-0 (Getty Images)

Khabib Nurmagomedov has revealed that he would only come out of retirement with his mother’s blessing.

The Russian retired undefeated in October after retaining his UFC lightweight title by submitting Justin Gaethje in the second round of the main event of UFC 254.

Following his impressive victory, the 32-year-old said: “God give me everything, and with my father, I love you so much… It was my last fight.

“No way I’m gonna come here [again] without my father. It was the first time after what happened with my father.

READ MORE: Why is McGregor fighting Poirier at UFC 257?

“When UFC called me about Justin, I talked with my mother for three days. She didn’t want me to go fight without father, but I promised her: ‘It’s gonna be my last fight.’ And if I I give my word, I have to follow this.”

Despite Nurmagomedov’s tearful announcement in Abu Dhabi, many fans speculated on a possible return for ‘The Eagle’ last month when he posted on social media about meeting with UFC president Dana White.

The Russian then said he would be holding a news conference this week but used it to reveal his new Eagle Fighting Championship, which will air on UFC Fight Pass.

And when asked at the news conference whether he could return to face the winner of January’s UFC 257 main event between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, Khabib played down chances of a premature end to his retirement.

“There is no sports interest there,” he said. “I choked both of them – both were champions, both surrendered to me.”

Nurgomedov successfully defended his title against both men, submitting McGregor in October 2018 and Poirier in September 2019 – each challenger tapping out to a rear naked choke.

“As our proverb says: A horse doesn’t run until the donkey wins,” Khabib continued. “Donkeys don’t even take part in competitions where horses run.

“I have no interest in fighting against these opponents. Imagine UFC offered you $100million. This is already a problem… but there is no sports interest there.”

The other roadblock is his mother’s stance on watching her son fight again, something the undefeated Russian wants to respect.

Per the Express’ Chisanga Malata, Khabib said he would only reverse his decision around retirement with her blessing.

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