Khabib Says He's Not Interested in Ending UFC Retirement to Fight Charles Oliveira

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 14, 2021

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - OCTOBER 25:  Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia enters the Octagon prior to his lightweight title bout against Justin Gaethje during the UFC 254 event on October 25, 2020 on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The allure of a fight with Charles Oliveira isn't enough to lure Khabib Nurmagomedov out of his retirement from UFC.

Khabib addressed his future in an interview with ESPN's Brett Okamoto.

Okamoto threw out the idea of one day taking on Oliveira, who claimed the lightweight championship after defeating Michael Chandler at UFC 262 in May, if Oliveira ran through the rest of the 155-pound division.

"I'm gonna say at that time it was Khabib's time. Now it's Charles' time," Nurmagomedov said beginning at the 21:24 mark. "I'm not going to just jump to the media and say, 'Oh, I'm gonna come back and fight with this guy.' This is not interesting for me."

The 32-year-old added that his first impulse upon seeing Oliveira cement himself as the undisputed lightweight star would be to congratulate him.

Nurmagomedov walked away from MMA following his victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 last October. He had compiled a 29-0 record as a professional and firmly asserted himself as one of the greatest lightweights ever.

Heading into UFC 254, Nurmagomedov had said on ESPN's First Take he was open to an encounter with the legendary Georges St-Pierre and that it was the "only fight in UFC, after Gaethje, that makes me very excited." 

In general, Khabib sounded like a fighter who desired a new challenge, which wasn't foreseeable after he had vanquished all foes. 

Speaking with Sport24 in January (via Jesse Holland of MMA Mania), Khabib explained how he was content with where he ended his career.

"I have achieved almost everything in this sport and there isn’t someone I would like to fight now," he said. "A lot of people don’t want to understand my side. I don’t see that yet. I train for myself. If we talk about all my business projects that are planned, fights are not in these plans."

Oliveira would represent something fresh since the two haven't crossed paths before. But Nurmagomedov threw cold water on the idea.