Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov told the mixed martial arts (MMA) community that his UFC 254 pay-per-view (PPV) headliner would be his last fight inside the Octagon, keeping a promise he made to his mother before the event.
But promotion president Dana White, who is quickly running out of bankable stars, has assured the combat sports fan base “The Eagle” will have a change of heart and come back for one more fight, because White is a promoter and that’s how he makes money.
“I tell the people close to me that aren’t happy with me retiring that even if I fought 10 more times, I’d still have to face that decision,” Nurmagomedov told RT Sport. “This decision could come up when I’m 32, 34, 35. It’s a hard decision because I’ve been fighting all my life. I’ve been on the mats for as long as I remember. It’s difficult to leave and do something else. People can’t understand it, but what can you do?”
At age 32, there’s not much left for Nurmagomedov to accomplish inside the Octagon. It would have been fun to watch him fight Tony Ferguson, but that rivalry lost some of its juice when “El Cucuy” got turned inside out by Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 back in May.
And I think we’ll survive without fights against Dan Hooker and Michael Chandler.
Part of me wonders if Rocky Marciano, who also retired at age 32, had people telling him to fight one more time because 50-0 looks better on paper. Nurmagomedov doesn’t have to answer to anyone but himself and to date, he sounds comfortable with his decision.