The death of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father has raised doubts over the lightweight champion’s UFC future, something even Khabib’s teammate Daniel Cormier is unsure about.
Adulmanap Nurmagomedov passed away earlier this month after a long battle with the coronavirus. Although mostly being unable to corner Khabib during his UFC career due to visa issues, Adulmanap was always an integral part of Khabib’s success in the UFC. Cormier recently spoke on the Ariel Helwani MMA Show about why he thinks it will be a while before Khabib is ready to fight again.
“I knew right away that Khabib wasn’t going to [come back in September]. It’s going to be too difficult. Khabib is dealing with something that’s so difficult and so tough. And like we spoke a couple of weeks ago, him and his dad’s relationship is so much different. He was everything to him, and now he’s gone, so it’s going to be awhile before we see Khabib.” (Transcription via MMA Junkie)
When Justin Gaethje won the interim UFC lightweight title against Tony Ferguson in May, all signs pointed towards a unification fight with Khabib later this year. However with the tragic passing of his father, Khabib has since stated Gaethje should fight Conor McGregor, but apparently Gaethje has turned the fight down and will instead wait for Khabib.
“I don’t think he’s fighting this year, honestly,” Cormier continued. “And it’s going to take a lot of strength from a very strong man for Khabib to be back in the octagon, ever. I just know what Abdulmanap meant to him, and I know that this was their journey together.”