Former UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov may be retired, but it seems he still has the ability to be one of combat sports’ top drawing stars. Having walked away from MMA relatively young – and seemingly still in the prime of his career – power players in the sports entertainment industry haven’t forgotten the Dagestani’s 2018 bout against Conor McGregor, which set a new high bar for MMA PPV buys—as well as live gate and attendance records for the state of Nevada.
Despite vowing that his retirement would be a firm and final move, with that kind of money on the table it’s no surprise that there’s significant interest to draw the ‘Eagle’ back in to the game. And it seems the pressure isn’t just coming from Dana White. The UFC boss insisted Nurmagomedov wasn’t actually retired for months after his initial 2020 announcement, only to finally confirm the news back in March.
In a recent interview on Mike Tyson’s Hotboxin’, Khabib’s manager Ali Abdelaziz talked about the UFC’s maintained interest in making a bout between his client and welterweight legend Georges St-Pierre. But, he also through a little extra news into the mix, that Nurmagomedov had also been offered something like $100 million for a potential bout with boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“I’mma break some news here,” Ali teased. “Two weeks ago, ten days ago, Dana White calls me. And he said ‘Georges St Pierre, he said he’ll fight Khabib. Non title fight, 165 pounds.’ But in a way we’ve been waiting for Georges...
“Listen, at the end of the day the UFC wanted to make him to fight at lightweight, he wanted to do (it) at welterweight. Khabib was the lightweight champion. But now he said ‘Hey, I’m retired, Khabib is retired, what about coming back and fight(ing) Khabib now?’ But you know, Khabib got offered 100 million dollar(s) after he retired, by Floyd Mayweather. 100 million. 100 million.
“You can ask Floyd, you can ask everybody,” Abdelaziz continued. “Khabib said ‘No, i’m retired. I told my mother I’m retired, you know? I’m gonna keep my word to my mother, you know?. I’m gonna keep my word to my mother, right? If my mother told me to fight again, maybe I will. But right now she told me not to fight.’”
If that sounds like it’s just empty posturing, however, the fighter himself was also able to confirm the offer. In a recent media scrum during one of his Eagle Fighting Championship events, reporters asked the longtime AKA talent about the rumored Mayweather bout. Nurmagoemdov confirmed that the offer did indeed come his way.
“The enticement is always there. There were such discussions with Saudi Arabia. They wanted me to fight there. I don’t know about $100 million. That wasn’t the exact sum ... but about that.”
If a fight against Mayweather for that kind of money didn’t get Nurmagomedov interested for another tilt in combat sports, then it’s hard to see what offer the UFC could make with GSP that would have more curb appeal. For now Khabib appears to be remaining adamant in his decision to stay retired, but clearly there’s money ready and waiting if he changes his mind.
In the meantime, Mayweather is now set to take on Logan Paul in an exhibition boxing match for the ‘YouTube Cruiserweight Title.’ That fight takes place on June 6th, at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fl. In the meantime, fans will just have to imagine what might have been.