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UFC 242: Khabib Nurmagomedov Still Has The “Fire”, But Could Retirement be Near?

Khabib Nurmagomedov may be in his prime, and at the top of the MMA world, but could the UFC champ walk away from the game in the not too distant future?

Khabib Nurmagomedov won’t turn 31 until later this month and is at the top of the MMA world. But, recently the undefeated, UFC champ made comments that indicate his career could end sooner than some may hope.

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Nurmagomedov’s previous comments about his future

The lightweight star has relayed in the past that with 27 fights now under his belt (and all 27 have been wins), he could exit the game in the not too distant future. But, not long after he submitted Conor McGregor last October, Khabib reported that he could retire if he was able to lock up fights with Tony Ferguson, Georges St-Pierre and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Now, since St-Pierre is now retired, it doesn’t look like that match-up is going to materialize. A boxing match with Mayweather Jr. at this juncture, also seems like a long shot, if not impossible. But, at the time, it was clear that Khabib had thought about retiring in the not-too-distant future.

Khabib’s most recent comments about retiring

Well, fast forward to today, and Nurmagomedov is preparing to fight Dustin Poirier next Saturday at UFC 242. During a pre-fight media call, Nurmagomedov was asked about his plans for the future and his retirement, and the galaxy class grappler said this (quotes via MMA Junkie):

“Good question,” Nurmagomedov said. “Not yet, but I’m not a young fighter. I’ve already been champion for years. I’ve already defended my title. This is my second defense. Of course, I don’t have a lot of fights ahead, because I don’t want to fight when I’m 40 years old. This isn’t my plan. We’ll see.”

“Before I make a decision, I have to talk with my father, I have to talk with coach Javier (Mendez), all my brothers, (management team) Dominance MMA and all the people around me,” Nurmagomedov said. “I can’t make this decision alone. But right now, I’m focused on competition, because I have too much fire inside me.”

Now, when you consider Khabib is only turning 31 soon, his comments about not wanting to fight until he’s 40 don’t seem to newsworthy. After all, that won’t take place for nine more years.

But, when you factor in what Khabib has said in the past about his future, and that he’s stated he doesn’t have “a lot of fights ahead”, you have to wonder if he is thinking about exiting somewhat soon. If he defeats Poirier, and then faces Ferguson and gets by him, what could be next? What bout would keep him interested? One would think Khabib no longer needs to fight for money. So, if he defeats “El Cucuy” – another of the best lightweights ever – could Nurmagomedov decide the time’s right to hang-up-the-gloves?

UFC 242 will take place in Abu Dhabi.

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