Following the confirmation of his official retirement in the early hours of this morning, Khabib Nurmagomedov has garnered a response from former two-weight UFC champion, arch-rival, Conor McGregor — who with a tongue-in-cheek comment, encouraged Nurmagomedov to “enjoy retirement“.
Nurmagomedov, who initially called time on his professional career in October of last year, has publicly been pursued by UFC president, Dana White in the months since, with the organizational leader transparently attempting to sway Nurmagomedov and entice him to make a thirtieth professional mixed martial arts appearance.
Successfully unifying the lightweight championships at UFC 254 on ‘Fight Island’, Nurmagomedov wrapped up a highlight-reel second round triangle win over then-interim titleholder, Justin Gaethje, Immediately announcing his intentions to hang up his gloves, Nurmagomedov cited the sad passing of his father and renowned Sambo coach, Abdulmanap earlier in 2020 for the reason for his retirement, detailing how he made a promise to his mother that he wouldn’t feature again without his father by his side.
Vacating the undisputed UFC lightweight championship, the division will crown a new pacesetter on May 15th. at UFC 262 as surging #3 ranked contender, Charles Oliveira clashes with recent promotional newcomer, the #4 ranked Michael Chandler, who scored a UFC 257 knockout win over Dan Hooker.
“Happy retirement kid (Khabib Nurmagomedov), smell ya later,” McGregor wrote on his official Instagram account. “Never forget who came in the game and made ye. Straight from my big Irish balls. Remember folks, if you hate cutting weight so much, all you have to do is move up a division. God bless.“
Two of the biggest rivals in the history of the sport, Nurmagomedov and McGregor headlined UFC 229 in October of 2018 in the promotion’s highest-grossing pay-per-view event of all-time, with Nurmagomedov scoring the first defence of his lightweight championship with a fourth round neck crank win.
Expected to make his second Octagon appearance of the year this summer, McGregor is set to round off his trilogy with a former interim lightweight champion, Dustin Poirier in a potential title-eliminator rubber-match, with the latter besting McGregor to level the scores one apiece with a second round knockout at the aforenoted, UFC 257 event to kick off the year.