When Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from MMA after handily beating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, Dana White did plenty to persuade “The Eagle” to come back.
The now-former UFC lightweight champion, however, says that there was never a moment where he considered going back on his retirement plans.
White and the UFC made Nurmagomedov’s retirement official last week, but the Dagestan combat sambo specialist said that it was set in stone as soon as he announced his decision back in October.
“Dana called this official, but I retired like four, six months ago,” Nurmagomedov told Megan Olivi. “It’s very funny: Dana told me when he posted that someone commented saying, ‘Hey, he retired not today, he retired about five months ago,’ and I was like it’s funny.
“We had some conversations with Dana a couple of times and like two days ago we meet with him to talk like two real men. We had a very good conversation with them, good dinner, and I really appreciated him not only for me, but all the sport.”
His decision to retire came following the tragic passing of his father and mentor Abdulmanap last year.
In his retirement speech, Nurmagomedov said that he had promised to his mother that he would not fight beyond his Gaethje bout and will no attempt to reach that 30-0 perfect record his dad and he had earmarked as a career landmark.
Nurmagomedov says that has the biggest bearing on his decision to hang up his four ounce gloves and he is not motivated at the thought of fighting any of the UFC’s biggest names for a bumper pay day.
“It’s very hard when you have power, when you’re the best in the world, when you’re famous, have money and say to everything like this, ‘No,'” Nurmagomedov said. “It’s very hard. People maybe will never understand me, but I really hope they’re going to support my decision because everyone has their views.
“My view and my relationship with my mother, I feel like I have to stop because I feel like in every fight, every training camp, this takes some age away from my mother. And it’s like what do I have to do? I came to this sport to show who I am and became the best, I’m world champion, and pound-for-pound No. 1. I defended my title three times. I defended my title in biggest fight of UFC history. What else? Only money-fights, but I don’t need money.”
Nurmagomedov will not be leaving the sport entirely. He recently acquired his own fight promotion, Eagle Fighting Championship.
He also has a series of friends, relatives and teammates that he will coach and corner for the foreseeable future.