Khabib Nurmagomedov says he is “very close” to retirement
Undefeated, reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is not far from going into retirement.
While the undefeated Dagestani has previously mentioned that he doesn’t see himself fighting for much longer, he has recently commented on the subject once more. Nurmagomedov has speculated three to four more bouts, but depending on time spent between fights those fights may not all happen. He recently commented on retirement, saying that it was “very close”.
“Well, we don’t have a plan for when we’re going to finish but I do know it is not over the mountains, as they say,” Khabib said during a recent Q&A in Russia (Via RT Sport). “That time is very close.
“I don’t want to think about the future, I still have to live to April, I still have to fight, I need to win,” Nurmagomedov continued. “So, I don’t like to look too far ahead. Now we have an opponent, Tony Ferguson, a very serious opponent. And I think it’s necessary to have this fight then we’ll sit down and think about what’s next.”
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While the time for retirement is uncertain, Nurmagomedov’s next step is. He is scheduled to defend his title against Tony Ferguson in a legacy-defining fight. The bout, which will be main event at UFC 249, April 18th, has been scheduled on four previous occasions, with injury or other unfortunate circumstances forcing the fight to be cancelled.
Nurmagomedov has excelled in the UFC, seen by many as one of the greatest of all time. In his undefeated run in the UFC he has dispatched world class fighters such as Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. However, Ferguson has been hailed as Nurmagomedov’s toughest test to date, and perhaps even the fighter with the style required to hand the champion his first loss. Ferguson has an unconventional and unpredictable fighting style, and holds finishes over Kevin Lee and Edson Barboza amongst others.
The bout with Ferguson will undoubtedly affect Nurmagomedov’s choices in regards to retirement. It remains to be seen how the April 18th title bout will do so.