When it comes to legacies, it’s clear Khabib Nurmagomedov has a lot to be proud of. Not only did the former UFC lightweight champion retire unbeaten, at 29-0, with his title belt still in hand, but he’s also successfully helped guide the careers of a whole new batch of top tier MMA fighters.
Even his old UFC belt is back in-house, with longtime training partner and mentee Islam Makhachev picking up the title with a second-round submission over Charles Oliveira back in October. So it’s no surprise that, during a recent speaking engagement with Class A Events in Toronto, the now-retired mixed martial artist & coach had a little crowing to do.
“Right now we have current UFC & Bellator lightweight champions. And this is amazing, this is amazing,” Nurmagomedov enthused. “I hear, like, long time ago, when one guy was talking about, ‘We’re here to take over.’ But, we’re here to take over.
“And you know, what’s interesting is, I coach not a lot of people. I coach people who was around me, like, when I was active fighter. This is maybe 12, 15 guys? ... We 13 people, we have a combined win in MMA of almost 300 fights. And this is crazy. Nobody ever did this in MMA before. This never happen. And I’m very happy because of this, because I know it was my father’s hard work. The way how he invest us, the way how he teach us, the way how he push us was everything. Even now, his legacy keep going.”
If Nurmagomedov’s praise for his father’s work seemed like it might have included a little shot at Conor McGregor’s iconic “We’re not here to take part, we’re here to take over!” line along the way, the ‘Notorious’ Irishman wasn’t about to let that slight go un-noted. Shortly after video of the interview emerged, McGregor took to social media and skipped the shade. Opting instead to take a more direct swipe at his onetime sporting rival.
“I fight on! Your fathers plan is never complete because you quit and ran, brother,” McGregor wrote in a since-deleted post to his Twitter account (h/t MMA Fighting). “God bless. I’m still here if you wanna go again. But your fear of defeat means you’ve already lost. Run from it all you want. We all lose in the end. Death takes us all. I fear nothing but God”
While McGregor’s SBG Ireland camp had a long-running feud with members of Nurmagomedov’s Eagles MMA fight team, the two men only met in the Octagon once, back in 2018—for the first defense of Nurmagomedov’s lightweight title reign. McGregor last set foot in the Octagon back in 2021, for a pair of bouts against Dustin Poirier, losing both fights via TKO. He has since been sidelined with an extended injury recovery due to a broken ankle suffered in the second loss.
Nurmagomedov retired suddenly in October of 2020, following his father’s passing and the third defense of his belt. For months afterward UFC president Dana White made serious ovations to try and bring the then-32-year-old back to competition, but Nurmagomedov has remained steadfast in his decision to continue his MMA career exclusively from the sidelines.