The rumors are true: Khabib Nurmagomedov has decided to take yet another step away from mixed martial arts (MMA), and will no longer be a prominent figure coaching his team of fighters to victory in 2023.
Russian sports site Tass.ru confirmed the news with multiple sources. The source provided the full scope of Nurmagomedov’s decision, saying, “Khabib left the MMA industry. He will no longer train, will not be present with the team at the training camp. This is done to spend more time with his family.”
Khabib still hasn’t come out and said the words himself, but in addition to a vague mention of his “decision” in another Instagram post, he also shared an Instagram Story with the Tass.ru quote, confirming his departure from the sport.
Previous reports had been swirling since New Year’s Day that Khabib would leave the MMA world for good. “The Eagle” has spent the last two years following his retirement from active competition as a coach, training partner, and leader for a powerful cadre of international fighters, many from the Caucausus.
His athletes had a spectacular 2022 under his watchful eye, going 19-2. Nurmagomedov’s protege, Islam Makhachev, captured UFC’s Lightweight championship in Oct. 2022, while his cousin, Usman Nurmagomedov, became Bellator Lightweight champion in Nov. 2022. Many news outlets awarded Khabib with their “Coach of the Year” distinction over the holidays, and if there is a better way to ride off into the sunset (again) than that, we don’t know what it would look like.
Khabib married his childhood friend, Patimat, in 2013 and has three kids: a daughter and two sons that we know of. That’s because the two have an extremely private relationship and Khabib guards his personal life very closely. This complete departure from MMA to spend more time with his family certainly dovetails with that desire to keep them out of the spotlight.
Nurmagomedov also spoke multiple times in 2022 about his waning passion for MMA.
“It was never inside my heart,” he said on The Muslim Money Guys podcast. “Of course, I like it, you have to love what you’re doing. I was a very big fan of sports because my goal was to become the best, to become the champion like everybody has to do. But, when I’m finished, I’m finished.”
“Maybe it’s because the flame inside of me went out, but I think there’s been a dip in MMA,” he said in another interview with UFC Russia. “That’s what I think, I can be wrong. Everyone has their viewpoint. I think the flame went out a little, that there was a decline.”
Apparently, not even his first taste of live Japanese MMA at Saitama Super Arena on New Year’s Eve could re-ignite that flame. But, as we said: what a way to go out ... again.
What do you think of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s decision to step away from MMA completely, Maniacs? Is it so long and farewell, or do you think he’ll be back?