Khabib Nurmagomedov could be leaving MMA altogether.
Although ‘The Eagle’ retired from fighting in October 2020, the MMA legend has remained in the business as a promoter or coach. After a historic year of coaching in 2021, Nurmagomedov seems to be stepping away from MMA to focus on other aspects of his life. The UFC Hall of Famer had this to say on Instagram:
“Concluding the year. The year certainly turned out to be a very busy and successful. Take care of yourself brothers 🤝 I hope my decision is only for the best, a big hug to you all всех Thank you, you were a big reason for my success in sports.”
Shortly after Nurmgagomedov’s Instagram post, the word started spreading rapidly in the MMA community, including some of his friends and training partners confirming the news. ‘The Eagle’ is coming off an incredible year of coaching, leading to MMA Junkie selecting him as the coach of the year, and sharing the award with Javier Mendez.
Two of Nurmagomedov’s primary fighters coached are his close friend Islam Makhachev and his cousin Usman Nurmagomedov. Both fighters won a world championship in 2022. Usman defeated Patricio Pitbull to become the Bellator lightweight champion in November. Meanwhile, Makhachev took out Charles Oliveira in October to win the UFC lightweight title. The question is, how does ‘The Eagle’ leaving MMA affects these fighters and more?
How will MMA be affected if Khabib Nurmagomedov never returns?
Khabib Nurmagomedov worked side-by-side with Javier Mendez to train fighters across a handful of promotions worldwide. Although Mendez is the primary mastermind, Nurmagomedov’s insights, moral support, and training regimen were massive contributors to their team’s success.
Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov’s affiliation with Eagle FC is more complicated. ‘The Eagle’ is leaving MMA to dedicate more time to his family and businesses. The UFC legend is the face of Eagle FC, so there is a fine line between MMA and business. It’s unclear if he will be disassociating from the promotion altogether.
Once Nurmagomedov’s father passed away in 2020, ‘The Eagle’ followed his mother’s wish to retire after beating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, ending his career with a record of 29-0. The 34-year-old dominated every aspect of the sport, but it’s time for him to focus on other aspects of life. His presence will be missed in MMA.