When Khabib Nurmagomedov retired at the age of just 32 years of age, fans remained hopeful that he would eventually change his mind and decide to come back. According to Javier Mendez, this is something that is on his mind, although there are some conditions that would need to be satisfied for his return.
Khabib announced his retirement after beating Justin Gaethje and defending his lightweight title last October. Since then, there have been a couple of potential opponents that seemed to entice him, both in MMA and boxing, but ultimately nothing has come of this.
However his coach, Javier Mendez recently revealed in an interview with BetWay, that Nurmagomedov misses the feeling of fighting, and is giving thought to a comeback. That being said, he knows that it would be a conversation that the former champ has to have with his mother first.
“I guess you could say (Khabib) wants to fight again – but absolutely not because his mother would have to give him permission before any of that. I mean, he misses training, he misses coaching,” Mendez said.
“I took it as he misses being around me and coaching. Our relationship is more than fighting, that goes beyond fighting. It’s not a relationship like: ‘Okay I’m done with my career, you know, my coach and I were just distant friends.’ No. We’re family, we grew with each other.
“They’re family to me and we’ll be in each other’s lives for the rest of our lives.”
Mendez went on to say that Khabib explained to him about missing the feeling of fighting, while he was cornering his cousin Abubakar, for a recent fight. However even if he wants to fight again, Javier reiterated that it would have to be with the permission of his mother, with whom he made a promise to retire.
“You know, when we went to the last fight and his cousin Abubakar was to fight, he just got all energised and he said ‘I miss this feeling’. And it’s a feeling that he’s gonna miss for a while because of that adrenaline you get from entering that octagon with all those people cheering you on,” Javier explained.
“It’s hard to replace that in normal life because normal life is not like that.”
“I don’t talk to him about if he’s tempted to get back in, so I don’t know. What I do know is his mother’s bond and his mother’s wishes are extremely important to him and if he did ever decide, it would have to be his mother and him talking, and his mother would have to give him her blessing.
“Even if he wanted to fight, it’s never gonna happen. He will not disobey his mother, he will not. That’s just who he is.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov Has Two Years To Return
As far as a timeline goes, for when Khabib Nurmagomedov may return, Javier Mendez says that is uncertain. However the one thing he does know, is that there is an expiration date on how long the Eagle would stay out before the door is shut for good.
Javier says that if Nurmagomedov is not making a comeback within two years of his fight with Justin Gaethje, then it is almost impossible for it to happen. At that point, the Dagestani fighter would no longer be in his prime, so it would not make sense for him to return.
“I can say this comfortably, that after two years out of the octagon, there will definitely be no comeback. Before that, when he’s feeling young and he’s in his prime, I’m gonna say I don’t know,” Mendez explained.
“I’d definitely say that when he’s past his prime, definitely not because he’s not going to compete when he’s not able to compete. But I can honestly say that if he’s still in his prime, there’s always the possibility that (Khabib) and his mother could talk. I can say that.
“I wouldn’t bet against it, but I know there is a possible situation that I could see. If there was something that would bring him back, it’s him still being in his prime and him and his mother talking.”
It will be interesting to see if Khabib Nurmagomedov decides to make a return to fighting at some point, or if he really is retired. The only thing that is clear, is that he walked away from the sport well before his time was up.