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A.J. McKee Understands & Respects Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Retirement

There's no doubt millions of fans would love to see Khabib fight again, but it doesn't sound like McKee will be pressuring the star to do so.

The MMA world continues to wait to see whether Khabib Nurmagomedov might change his mind and pursue a 30th win. But, one of Bellator’s rising stars, A.J. McKee has made it clear he understands and respects the undefeated fighter’s decision to walk away from fighting when he did.

Khabib
Image Credit: UFC / YouTube

McKee comments on Khabib’s retirement

Nurmagomedov shocked the combat sports world in October, when after he choked out Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, he announced he was retiring. Khabib reported that after his father passed away last year, he promised his mother he would fight just one more time.

Although Khabib had repeatedly said in recent years he wasn’t going to fight for too much longer, the news surprised many. Prior to UFC 254, the consensus was that Khabib would come back for at least one more fight, in pursuit of the 30-0 mark.

Well, due to this, speculation about the lightweight champ fighting again hasn’t gone away. Especially since Dana White is meeting with Khabib this month.

But, while talking to MMA Junkie recently, McKee had this to say about Khabib’s retirement decision.

“I respect him for getting that last fight out of the way and I don’t know, man, he told his mother he wouldn’t fight no more,” McKee said, before referencing the relationship he has with his own father, fighter and coach, Antonio McKee.

“Honestly, if I didn’t have my father. I don’t think I could do it honestly.

I could fight, but there’s going to be a lot of anger. I don’t think there’s going to be a technical A.J. I’m going to be out there swinging trying to hurt something.

“So I don’t know, that’s a tough one. That’s why I took my hat off to him. He won a lot of respect from me for that fight. And I just don’t judge a character inside the cage, but outside of the cage.

That’s why I always geared towards Khabib. He’s just a great person outside and inside the cage.”

McKee also had this to say, while referring to the relationship Khabib had with his father, Abdulamanap. The latter was a highly respected martial artcs coach. 

“I look up to that family tradition and that legacy,” McKee said. “Having my father be my coach it’s just fire. Our fathers put a different mindset in us.

Being raised for this, we know what we’re here to do and it’s a problem for people.”

What’s next?

So, based on these comments, it doesn’t sound like McKee believes Khabib will be back either.

Khabib has said several times now that he’s done fighting, and he’s also shot down the idea money will change his mind. 

That said, he has agreed to meet with White, and reportedly remains in the USADA testing pool. So, if White offers him the right fight, which would add to his legacy (Georges St-Pierre), maybe he’ll change his mind? 

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