I don’t think anyone was 100% certain one way or the other that undisputed lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov actually retired after defeating interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 this past Saturday.
There was way too much emotion in the ring from the Russian as he visibly struggled with his first fight back in the UFC since his father passed away earlier this year. His record at the time of his retirement announcement was 29-0 just one win shy of that sweet even 30. It would be hard to resist as a top tier fighter taking just one more fight to get that three in front of the number.
Dana White revealed on the Zach Gelb show (via ESPN’s MMA Instagram account) that he had been speaking with Nurmagomedov and there might be a chance the Russian would come back for an opportunity to get victory number 30.
We have all seen how difficult it is for a fighter to hang the gloves up and leave them there. Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, and just about anyone else who tries to call it quits. Speaking to some of them I can tell you it is not about the money for most of them. It is about the adrenaline, fame, and just feeling alive. No one really wants to be forgotten and when your name steps being mentioned and you feel your relevance is slipping away it can be very hard to deal with. Khabib is only 32 years old and if he doesn’t have something to fill those needs he will likely come back.