Whether he has completely retired from active MMA competition or not, Khabib Nurmagomedov looks like he will be involved in the sport for a long time to come.
After buying local promotion Gorilla Fighting Championship for $1 million last week, renaming it Eagle Fighting Championship, he has been on a press tour in Russia and Central Asia to talk about his recent purchase and future ambitions.
And the former UFC lightweight champion has perhaps the loftiest ambition for MMA of all – he wants to take mixed martial arts to the Olympics.
“The inclusion of MMA in the Olympics is one of my biggest tasks for the next couple of years,” Nurmagomedov said in Russian during a press conference in Uzbekistan on Tuesday. [H/T ESPN] “We’re already working in this direction.”
Nurmagomedov believes MMA rules will likely change to find its place in the Olympics, but any version of the sport will do MMA the world of good if it receives the kind of recognition the Olympics’ platform has to offer.
“In the Olympics, with boxing, I think they changed the gloves. They don’t want there to be a lot of blood,” Nurmagomedov said. “But in terms of sponsorships, TV ratings, viewership, the MMA has it, and if it gets in the Olympics, it will be on par with track and field and soccer in terms of interest.
“This is my personal opinion. And we’re already working in that direction.”