Khabib Nurmagomedov could be on his way out of professional mixed martial arts (MMA) as the new year gets underway.
While Nurmagomedov officially retired from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) a few years back following his final lightweight title defense over Justin Gaethje in Abu Dhabi the undefeated legend has been coaching and helping his teammates bring their games to the next level. In fact, Khabib was one of the most successful coaches in MMA in 2022.
Most notably, Nurmagomedov helped long-time training partner and friend, Islam Makhachev, finally cash in on his UFC dreams. The two collaborated on an expensive camp in order to prepare Makhachev for his matchup with Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 this past October. Makhachev ended up defeating Oliveira with a second-round submission to claim the undisputed UFC lightweight title, extend his current UFC win streak to 11, and grab the torch that Nurmagomedov left behind when he retired.
On Friday, Khabib took to Instagram to thank his team for a successful 2022 campaign. The former UFC champion also hinted at an exit from MMA all together, stating that “I hope my decision is only for the best.” Check out Nurmagomedov’s post below:
“Concluding the year. The year certainly turned out to be very busy and successful. Take care of yourself brothers,” wrote Nurmagomedov (translation via Instagram).
“I hope my decision is only for the best, a big hug to you all. Thank you, you were a big reason for my success in sports.”
Reports are already beginning to circulate the MMA community that Khabib plans to leave MMA behind in 2023 to focus on his family and businesses. In addition to coaching his teammates over at American Kickboxing Academy these past few years Nurmagomedov has been running the Eagle FC fight promotion he helped launch in late 2020. It’s unknown at this time if Khabib will contribute to Eagle FC at all moving forward.
Nurmagomedov, 34, will go down as one of the most dominant fighters in the history of the sport. And after these past few years helping build the next generation of fighters “The Eagle” will be remembered as one of the best mentors as well. MMA has a funny way of pulling fighters back into the fold when they try to leave so we’ll see if Khabib sticks to his guns or returns to the sport in the near future.