Khabib Nurmagomedov, UFC lightweight turned MMA trainer Khabib Nurmagomedov, has revealed that he doesn’t miss fighting because “it was never in my heart.”
Nurmagomedov, widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, retired in 2020 following the death of his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who trained him from an early age in Dagestan.
The undefeated Russian, who retired a perfect 29-0 with three title defenses to his credit, once again reiterated his desire to remain retired despite repeated calls for him to return and reclaim his lightweight championship.
“I honestly don’t. [I don’t miss it]Nurmagomedov told The Muslim Money Guys in a recent interview (h/t BJPenn.com). “When I miss something like competition, I go to the gym and wrestle, wrestle, train. I spend my energy there. Do you like the comeback? Go to the cage? No, I’m not missing it.”
“Because my whole life was in my hands, not inside my heart. It was never inside my heart. Of course I like it, you have to love what you’re doing. I was a big sports fan because my goal was to become the best, to become the champion like everyone else has to do. But when I’m done, I’m done.”
“It’s easy. It’s very easy [to walk away]”, he added. “If it is within your heart, leaving this alone is very difficult. It was inside my heart. Now finished, I’m going to do other things. Any [would make me return]. Never. I leave this sport alone, without me. There will always be some champion without my name too. He is going to be Charles Oliveira, he is going to be Islam [Makhachev] or another name after Islam because Islam is not going to be there all his life. A short time, a couple of years, finished”.
“This is a high-level sport. I was a champion Right now, I am not a champion and this is normal. You can never be champion all like seven years, eight years. There’s a couple of years, that’s your prime time. Finished, bye. You can stay just to make money, but you will never be a champion.”
Since retiring in 2020, Khabib has turned his attention to training, following in his father’s footsteps. He is the trainer and mentor of No. 4-ranked lightweight Islam Makhachev, who has promised “more title defenses” than Khabib and a promotion to welterweight if he defeats Charles Oliveira at UFC 280.
That PPV, whose main event is Oliveira vs. Makhachev, takes place tomorrow afternoon at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.