Possible Khabib Nurmagomedov Return Already in Talks

Khabib Nurmagomedov
MAKHACHKALA, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 27, 2020: UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is welcomed at a city airport. Nurmagomedov defeated American mixed martial artist Justin Gaethje in the second round at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi on October 24, 2020, and then announced his retirement after 29 victories and no losses in his career. Press Office of the Head of the Republic of Dagestan/TASS THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Photo by Press Office of the Head of the TASS via Getty Images)

Khabib Nurmagomedov, UFC lightweight champion, pound-for-pound #1 on the UFC’s official rankings, retired after his successful title defence against interim champion Justin Gaethje last Saturday. But apparently the 29-0, undefeated Russian is already in talks to return to the sport. UFC President Dana White told MMA reporter Zach Gelb that “Khabib and I have been talking… he was, completely emotional that night when he got through that fight, I have a feeling that he might be going for 30 and 0… his dad wanted him to get the 30 and 0, and I think he wants to honour his dad’s wish.”

Nurmagomedov was visibly in tears after the fight, kneeling and weeping after submitting Gaethje. Gaethje, who was temporarily unconscious due to the choke, comforted Nurmagomedov after being resuscitated. However, the way Nurmagomedov explained the decision afterwards indicated a lot of forethought. Nurmagomedov mentioned promising his mother that he would not fight after the Gaethje fight. He also expressed a desire to spend more time with his mother.

Nurmagomedov has received a large amount of praise for both this specific performance and his career as a whole. White himself praised Nurmagomedov in a tweet afterwards, saying: “You [Nurmagomedov] are the P4P best fighter in the world and you truly are the G.O.A.T of the sport.” Certainly, a Khabib Nurmagomedov return would be significant.

Khabib Nurmagomedov Return: Possible Fights

There are several fights that have been mooted to serve as Nurmagomedov’s thirtieth. One is the fight between him and current #3 Lightweight contender, Tony Ferguson. The Ferguson/Nurmagomedov fight was long anticipated as both went on 12 fight undefeated streaks at one point. Another is the possible return of legendary welterweight and middleweight Georges St-Pierre. St-Pierre has not fought since 2017 when he defeated Michael Bisping for the middleweight title, which he later vacated. St-Pierre has never fought at lightweight, and the possibility of a catchweight has been discussed.

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