City Kickboxing head coach Eugene Bareman thinks Khabib Nurmagomedov has changed for the worse since retiring, accusing the UFC lightweight GOAT of talking too much ‘sh-t’ about other fighters.
Khabib (29-0 MMA, 13-0 UFC) mainly used to let his fists do the talking but, since retiring in 2020, Bareman says he has seen another side to Nurmagomedov — and he doesn’t like it one bit.
“Khabib talks more sh*t about other fighters than anybody and I’m disappointed to see that,” Bareman, who coaches UFC champions Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski, told Submission Radio in a recent interview. “Because for me, he was a guy that, oh man, this guy’s still a purist. That’s not a part of his DNA. But now you see him slagging off fighters, and then Makhachev does the same. That never used to be a part of their culture in the sport. They had their own unique place in the sport. Now they’re just like everybody else. Khabib talks just as much sh*t as everybody else. He used to respect all fighters. He used to respect all fighters a lot. Same as Makhachev. I heard that maybe their manager controls their Twitter. But then they’re still foolish for letting the manager control their Twitter.
“I like the old, I like the way they used to be, before they got all Hollywood. They had their own culture. It was theirs. They weren’t trying to be American. They brought a real pure kind of edge to the sport that’s missing from the very top, that’s missing from the very top because it’s so cutthroat. But to see them now, just Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, blah, blah, blah, ‘no good, this guy’s here for a payday, this guy’s here for that, this guy’s no good, you’re all shit, you shouldn’t fight him, you don’t deserve’. Like, just do your thing. And how they do their thing is they just fight until it just gets to a point when you can’t say no. And that was the thing that I respected. That’s all.”
Bareman still has a tremendous amount of respect for Khabib and his team but cautioned the Russian not to get too caught up in the drama outside of the cage.
“When I say used to, I still respect them a lot, but the thing that I used to respect about them, the guys like Khabib and that, is they were purists,” Bareman said. “All they did was fight. Don’t worry about the media, don’t worry about [anything else], just get on with your job, fight.
“They come from very humble beginnings. They’re not very materialistic when they make a lot of money. They just keep training. They show up, they grind, and they don’t care about the material positions, flash cars. All they want to do is fight, and their whole goal is to fight. And their style reflects that. They don’t want to be flashy. They want the best way to get to the win. In a straight line from A to B. And that’s what I used to respect about them, and I used to love it. And the thing is, at the top level, it’s a cutthroat game. And the amount of things that you can respect, they started to get pulled away and cut away. And that’s what I used to respect about them. But now the game has got to them as well.”
Khabib retired undefeated at 29-0 and — trash talk or no trash talk — will be remembered by many as one of the greatest fighters of all time.