Newly retired Khabib Nurmagomedov has been putting himself into a bit of a coaching role in recent years. Former middleweight champ Luke Rockhold says that the Dagestani wants to coach him for his return to action.
There was a brief period in time where Rockhold appeared to be hanging up the gloves. After going 1-3 in nearly five years, including a failed move to light heavyweight, the former champion revealed his plans to stay on the sidelines for a long time, potentially for good.
However he has recently been walking back these comments, saying that he plans on fighting again soon. In fact, he has even begun calling out potential opponents for a return that he hopes to have before the end of the year.
Khabib Wants To Coach Luke Rockhold
While Luke Rockhold is looking to come back to the Octagon, his teammate and training partner Khabib Nurmagomedov has retired. However Khabib has said that he still plans on being active inside the sport, and apparently he wants to start with Luke.
Speaking in a recent interview, the former middleweight champion revealed that Khabib is actually quite eager to coach him for his UFC return. While he is unsure about taking the Dagestani up on this offer, he says that Nurmagomedov has been quite persuasive.
“I kinda felt (Khabib’s retirement) coming, especially with Khabib reaching out to me and wanting to coach me. He’s assuming this coaching role now,” Rockhold said, laughing.
“He’s going off on me, wanting to coach now. He wants to be a big part of my comeback. It’s pretty funny to see Khabib assume this role. He’s going for the coach of the year, that’s what he wants. He wants to be the next great thing and follow his dad’s footsteps.”
As far as when he will make that comeback, Rockhold says that he is gunning for the summer. He also made it clear that he is sticking to middleweight, rather than another run at 205lb.
“I think realistically, it’s summertime, a late summer return. I just gotta get my body right. My shoulder’s been an ongoing issue but it’s finally coming around and getting to a point where I have confidence in it to let it go,” he said.
“I believe ’85 is my calling, I’m about 205lb right now. I’m just naturally there. It wasn’t really me to bulk up. I was lifting weights and doing my thing to get up to 205, and I could barely hold 215-220 at best.
“I feel good. This is my championship weight, this is where I’ve done all my damage, and I like the route to victory with what’s ahead of me. I’m ready to go.”
Khabib Was Always Great
Luke Rockhold had the privilege of seeing Khabib at an early stage of his career. In fact, he says that he knew from the start that the Dagestani would be something special.
“I saw real potential in Khabib and that’s why I took to him. I never doubted him, and he just continues to impress as a person. He’s a great person, not just a fighter,” he said.
As much as Rockhold knows that he was a great fighter from the start, he has that same confidence in Khabib’s abilities as a coach. While he is still uncertain about whether or not he will let the Dagestani lead his next training camp, Luke has no doubts that he can be a great teacher.
“Of course he can be a good coach. It’s like, sometimes you have to put yourself aside. Even if you know a lot, it’s better to be guided. Kind of more like a mindless training. If you trust in your coach, having someone direct you and put you in the right way, because no matter how much we know, sometimes you gotta step back and let someone else direct the situation.
“He knows how to press the pace. The thing with Khabib is he always pressed. He showed up, the first day he showed up I was like ‘I like this kid.’ He showed up by himself and he just works hard. I was like ‘Come with me, let’s do this,’ and he just always pressed me to my limit,” Rockhold said.
How do you think Luke Rockhold would do if he had Khabib Nurmagomedov directing him? Who do you want to see the former champ fight in his Octagon return?