Khabib Never Considered UFC Return After Retiring; Wants to Coach Luke Rockhold

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2021

Russian UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov gestures to the crowd during an open training session at Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Fighters Dustin Poirier and Khabib Nurmagomedov will face each other in UFC 242, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Abu Dhabi. Nurmagomedov did not spar during the open training, saying he was still trying to make weight for the bout. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
Jon Gambrell/Associated Press

Even with UFC president Dana White seemingly teasing a return for months, Khabib Nurmagomedov has been firm in his decision to stay retired.

"No [I never contemplated coming back], but Dana called this official," Nurmagomedov said at UFC Vegas 22, via Damon Martin of UFC Fighting. "But I retired like five, six months ago. It’s very funny."

He said he recently spoke with White to confirm he is not coming back to the sport.

Khabib announced his retirement in October after a win over Justin Gaethje, but White kept the lightweight belt in his hands until Thursday.

"Khabib is retired and doesn't wanna hold up the division," White told Brett Okamoto of ESPN. "Tonight was our final meeting and he is retired."

White had previously kept the door open for a return, but it seems Khabib was firm in his decision to retire. The 32-year-old now appears ready to take on a new career in the sport as a coach.

Luke Rockhold told TMZ Sports that Khabib wants to train him:

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"He's going for the 'Coach of the Year.' That’s what he wants," Rockhold said of Nurmagomedov. "He wants to be the next great thing, following in his dad’s footsteps."