Khabib Nurmagomedov Looks Back on His Intense Rivalry with Conor McGregor, Talks Potential UFC Comeback

'The Eagle' admitted to losing control following his submission victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 229

Khabib Nurmagomedov
Courtesy of @UFCNews on Twitter

Khabib Nurmagomedov has once again squashed any hope of seeing him return to the Octagon.

‘The Eagle’ is considered to be one of the pound-for-pound greatest fighters in mixed martial arts history. A truly impressive feat made all the more incredible by the fact that the Russian wrestling sensation walked away from the sport in his early 30s. After amassing a record of 29-0 and scoring three-straight UFC lightweight world title defenses, Nurmagomedov left the sport behind following the unfortunate passing of his father. 

Still, fans have remained hopeful that he will return one day to claim a 30th win to cap off his iconic career. Sadly, that does not appear to be the case. During a recent appearance on the PBD Podcast with Patrick Bet-David, Nurmagomedov was asked about the possibility of a comeback. His response undoubtedly left hopefully fans disappointed.

“No, I don’t think so. It’s a lot of things. A lot of things come to my mind,” Nurmagomdeov said when addressing the reasons for his retirement. “First of all, because of my mother, but I don’t think so.”

Nurmagomedov continued to discuss a potential return to the Octagon, saying: “About a comeback, I’m not sure. I’m like, no make sense. For me, no make sense. Of course, people want to see this. People want drama like a movie that continued, but right now, I’m full.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov Looks Back on His Intense Rivalry with Conor McGregor

Nurmagomedov currently holds the record for the most-watched UFC fight in pay-per-view history. His October 2018 clash with Irish megastar Conor McGregor received a build-up like nobody had ever seen before. For months, the pair went at it, with McGregor taking some especially nasty digs at Nurmagomedov’s life, family, and religion. 

Speaking about the sometimes vile nature of McGregor’s trash-talk leading up to their epic UFC 229 showdown, Nurmagomedov suggested that it only served to show himself and the world how unintelligent McGregor truly is.  

“I like to listen to people when they talk. It’s very interesting because you can listen to them and you can understand where is their IQ,” Nurmagomedov said with a smirk. “If you are stupid, what can you do? You can do nothing. If you cannot handle yourself, how are you going to control myself. I you cannot control yourself. If you cannot control your family, you have to be quiet. Just don’t talk in front of a lot of people because they’re going to understand who you are. It’s better to don’t talk. 

“I was listening to him and maybe he said some good things. Maybe I’m wrong. Everybody makes mistakes, but I was listening and this guy’s like, cruse this, this, this, and I’m like, ‘Okay, this guy’s never going to beat you.’ This is two different levels. You have to be a little bit… at least you have to be smart because when you go to the cage, there is a lot of things your head has to work [out]. “And when I listen to him, I understand his level.”

Despite all the nastiness that Conor McGregor was spreading, Nurmagomedov claims to have been very relaxed and in control ahead of and during the fight. However, once he cinched in the rear-naked choke that led to the Irishman’s demise, ‘The Eagle’ admits to letting his built-up frustrations get the best of him, leading to a chaotic scene immediately following the contest. 

“In this fight, I was very relaxed. Honestly, I was controlling myself at the beginning with the press conference and the weigh-in,” Nurmagomedov continued. “I was controlling myself and at the end of the fight, I think it was too much. I’m a human. Everybody makes mistakes, but this fight, the choke, it was not a mistake. It was my plan. Make him tired and choke him out. This is what I told him.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov went on to defend the lightweight title two more times, dispatching both Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje via submission before walking away from the sport. 

Published on August 21, 2023 at 5:04 pm
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