Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from competition at UFC 254 2020 after defeating then-interim champion Justin Gaethje, marking his third successful title defense. It was a heavy year for “The Eagle,” who left the sport with a record of 29-0.
In the months that followed, Khabib kept his word, unlike many of his contemporaries. But according to coach Javier Mendez, he continued to have UFC fighter obligations almost a year after announcing his retirement
Mendez: Khabib Nurmagomedov remained locked in with the UFC after retirement
In a conversation with betting website Grosvenor Sport, Mendez revealed that Khabib was still in the USADA testing pool eight months after retiring. That meant having obligatory visits from agents along with whereabouts rules which some fail to adhere to.
“After Khabib retired, they were still testing him,” Mendez said (quotes via talkSPORT).
“Dana White didn’t remove Khabib from the testing pool after he retired because he still hoped Khabib would fight again.”
Mendez says his superstar pupil just grew fed up with all the testing.
“Then Khabib had enough of being tested. So, he told Dana he didn’t want to test anymore and that he’s not coming back.
“He was roughly tested for about eight months before he had enough.”
The UFC did try to get Khabib back in
Even with the slight possibility of having his super fight with Georges St-Pierre turned into a reality, Khabib Nurmagomedov immediately shut down calls for a return. He had his reasons, but one of the heavier ones was fulfilling his mother’s wish for him to retire.
“Let some of these fights play out to see who would fight next for the title. I think if Khabib is interested, he’ll take the fight. … There’s still a chance.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov post-UFC career
After retiring at the prime age of 32, Khabib pursued other endeavors. He launched his very own promotion Eagle FC and signed high-profile names like former UFC champions Renan Barã0, Junior Dos Santos, and TUF alum and fan-favorite Diego Sanchez.
Khabib’s coaching stint also turned out to be as successful as his fighting career. His biggest win happened in October 2022 at UFC 280 when he helped steer Islam Makhachev towards the then-vacant lightweight title.
In early 2023, Khabib stepped down from his coaching duties and decided to focus more on his family. He was absent from Makhachev’s corner at UFC 284, who at the time defended the undisputed 155-pound title against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.
Makhachev won via a controversial unanimous decision. According to Khabib, he “aged 50 years” after watching the fight.
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