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Luke Rockhold: Khabib wants to be a ‘big part of my comeback’

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Luke Rockhold hints that Khabib Nurmagomedov could be in his corner for his UFC comeback.

UFC 221: Romero v Rockhold
Luke Rockhold warms up prior to his middleweight showdown with Yoel Romero at UFC 221.
Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Khabib Nurmagomedov might have retired, but the former UFC lightweight champion still lives and breathes MMA.

Nurmagomedov is now serving as a coach for surging UFC lightweight Islam Makhachev and, according to Luke Rockhold, ‘The Eagle’ has already assumed a coaching role for Luke’s comeback fight.

Rockhold, who trains with Nurmagomedov at the world renowned American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, says the retired UFC star is aiming to be ‘Coach of the Year’ for 2021.

“He’s assuming this coaching role now,” Rockhold, who will return to the UFC later this year, told TMZ Sports in a recent interview. “He wants to be a big part of my comeback.”

“He’s going for the ‘Coach of the Year.’ That’s what he wants,” he added. “He wants to be the next great thing, following in his dad’s footsteps.” That’s what his dad always did. His dad was always insightful, and always had a good eye for the sport ... and I think Khabib’s ready to assume that role in fatherhood.”

Rockhold hasn’t fought since his devastating knockout loss to Jan Blachowicz in 2019, but the former UFC middleweight champion is expected to make a comeback by ‘late summer’. The 36-year-old MMA veteran will return to the UFC at middleweight as he believes 185 lbs. to be his natural weight class.

“I believe [185 pounds] is my calling. I’m about 205 pounds right now and I’m just naturally there. It wasn’t really me to bulk up. I was lifting weights and did my thing to get up to 205 and I could barely hold 215, 220 max,” Rockhold said.

“I feel good. This is my championship weight. This is where I’ve done all my damage and I like the route to victory of what’s ahead of me, so I’m ready to go.”