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Khabib Nurmagomedov is settling into retirement and, despite claims to the contrary by UFC president Dana White, he has no intention to return to fighting.
Nurmagomedov abruptly retired in October after defending his lightweight title against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. It came as a shock to fans and White, who days later said he expected Nurmagomedov to return. White reiterated that stance this week.
Khabib remains retired after reaching summit
Nurmagomedov, 32, shared his five-year plan with a group of young people on Thursday in his Russian home of Dagestan. It did not include the UFC.
“You can fight until you’re 40, but there should be a goal,” Nurmagomedov said as translated by Russian media outlet RT (h/t MMA Junkie). “I had a goal to reach the summit, and I got there. Further, I have no competitive interest. Next year I will graduate. I’d like to [build on] my thesis, do a master’s course, dedicate more time to studying. I’ve bought sheep, I tend to my farm. I’d like to develop in this field a little. I have the bull calves out to feed. I have cows.”
The champion is working toward a degree at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, RT reported. He launched a new mobile virtual network operator on Wednesday called Eagle Mobile and “stars” in an online life-coaching course for a campus.
White: ‘Khabib’s going to fight’
White said in the days after the fight he wasn’t sure the undefeated Nurmagomedov (29-0 MMA, 13-0 UFC) would call it quits.
“I think that he’s not going to retire. His dad wanted to him to get to 30-0. I think he wants to honor his dad’s wish.”
Nurmagomedov’s father and trainer, Abdulmanap, died of COVID-19 complications in July. Nurmagomedov cited his father when he announced his retirement in the minutes after the fight, adding he promised his mother it would be his final fight.
Again on Wednesday, White reiterated the stance when he said the fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 won’t be for the belt. He told reporters, “Khabib’s going to fight,” via MMA Junkie.
He stands by it in part because Nurmagomedov is still in the UFC drug testing program, per his own Instagram post last week.
“I told you guys that I think he’s going to go to 30 [wins],” White said, via MMA Junkie.. “If he’s still testing — why the hell would you want to test still if you’re not going to fight?
“He hasn’t committed, but I feel like he’s going to, and I’m not really pushing him. We talked about it and he just fought. Let him take some time, spend some time with his family, spend the holidays. There’s no rush.”
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