Sometime around the end of February, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dana White were scheduled to sit down once again in Las Vegas and discuss the lightweight champion’s future. Despite the longtime AKA fighter’s insistence that he was retiring from MMA after defeating Justin Gaethje via technical submission back in October, UFC president Dana White has been dogged in his pursuit of even just one more fight for the Dagestani champion.
Whether White and Nurmagomedov actually did reconnect over the last couple weeks or not, from the sound of things, it certainly doesn’t seem as though any headway has been made in White’s hopes of luring the ‘Eagle’ back to the Octagon. In a recent interview with Esquire Middle East, Nurmagomedov spoke candidly about his future. One that seems to involve a lot less training and a lot more coaching.
“Every day I woke up in the morning and started training, and in the evening my body was exhausted, because I had brought it to the limit,” Khabib explained. “I just want to live a life in which I can get at least a little sleep before lunchtime, to live for myself and not devote myself 100 percent to sports.”
“Now that I’m not going to train any more, I have people close to me—brothers and friends—who are now fighting at the highest level,” he added. “There are about five or six people who we are building the path with, and I will help them, train with them, share my experiences. . . To some extent, this can be called a coaching life, but I am not going to fully enter into coaching. I will always be there and share my experience.”
Especially in MMA, fans can never count on a fighter’s retirement to last forever. But, for the immediate future, it still sounds very much like Nurmagomedov is enjoying the prospect of a life without his own training camps to go through. Maybe sooner or later Dana White will pick up that message and book two of the lightweight elite for the vacant title.