Chael Sonnen does not believe UFC Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov is done with MMA.
After defending the lightweight championship against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, ‘The Eagle’ announced his retirement during his post-fight interview. Thus far, Nurmagomedov has stuck to his guns, opting to help guide the next generation of Dagestani talent. Now that he has seen his protege Islam Makhachev climb to the top by capturing the 155-pound title, ‘The Eagle’ is ready to walk away from that aspect of the sport.
Nurmagomedov took to Instagram, posting in Russian and indicating that he was retiring as a coach to focus on being with his family. American Kickboxing Academy coach Javier Mendez seemingly confirmed Nurmagomedov’s intentions.
“He just doesn’t want to miss being a father,” Mendez told Yahoo Sports. “He talked to me about three weeks ago and told me of his plan and said he planned to talk to the team and inform them of his decision. He’s doing this for the right reasons. He’s a family man and he simply wants to spend more time with his family.”
If Khabib has truly decided to retire from coaching, than what a career it has been! pic.twitter.com/HBWJJQY1NG
— The Fight Bubble (@thefightbubble) January 7, 2023
Though his reasoning is a noble one, not everyone is buying Nurmagomedov’s latest retirement. That includes three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen who called b*llshit in his latest episode of Beyond the Fight on YouTube.
“I don’t think Khabib’s done. I don’t. I think there’s a misinterpretation here. I think there was clickbait going on. When I went to Khabib’s actual Instagram which you’re welcome to do, but it was written in a language I just couldn’t understand it, so maybe there is a little bit more to the story. I would just share with you If Khabib were to step aside. Step aside from coaching or to leave the gym… Does a lot of work at AKA of course with Javier Mendez, Daniel Cormier by example.
“If Khabib was to return home to Dagestan and just stay in that region with his family. Spend a little bit more time there. The reason this would be such big news is, if that is in fact what Khabib said, which that’s not my interpretation. Not yet, at least. But if it is what he said, it’s what he’ll do. We don’t have anybody in this sport… Few men alive, that if they say something, they follow through more than Khabib.”
Chael Sonnen Believes Khabib Nurmagomedov Would Have Bigger Plans
Though Chael Sonnen remains skeptical about Nurmagomedov’s decision to walk away from the sport altogether, the ‘American Gangster’ isn’t buying that it would be so he can simply go home and watch TV with the family.
“This guy is like Midas. Whatever he touches has turned to gold and if he were to step away from MMA, it isn’t to go sit at home and watch television because he’s going to do something else with his time. That really is what would be of most interest, at least to me. What is Khabib focused on? What direction is Khabib going in?
“Whether he likes to live a little bit more of the quiet life or not, the reality is we’re interested in him and we’re gonna support him and in some other parts of it, we’re going to be nosy. We’re gonna figure out what he’s up to and where he’s doing it at. Khabib’s a hot issue. Is he done with MMA? Right now, my own opinion, I think that was clickbait.”