Popular Muslim MMA fighter and former Khabib Nurmagomedov’s visit to the United States has spurred fresh hopes of his coming out of retirement and joining the ring again.
“USA 🇺🇸 I’m coming ✊️ I am sending you the location. January 25th Detroit, Michigan
I am partnering with @miftaah.institute & @class.a.events for an exclusive evening not to be missed!
Book Now: miftaah.org/khabib,” Khabib tweeted.
Popularly known as ‘The Eagle’, Khabib retired on a high in 2020. He retained his lightweight title at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi and then announced his retirement.
Russian Khabib, 34, defeated interim champion Justin Gaethje with a second-round triangle choke submission to claim the 29th victory and unify the 155lb title.
Khabib had honored the memory of his father, coach, and mentor Abdulmanap, who died of Covid in July 2020.
Despite many believing, he would chase his 30th professional win before contemplating retirement, the emotional champion asked his teammates to cut his gloves off before quitting.
“It was my last fight. There’s no way I’m going to come here without my father. It was the first time after what happened with my father when the UFC called me about (fighting) Justin, I talked with my mother for three days. She didn’t want me to fight without my father, but I promised her it was going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here,” he had said.
Former UFC welterweight Kevin Lee, however, believes the promotion is heavily pushing Khamzat Chimaev in order to draw Khabib Nurmagomedov out of retirement.
Not many fighters have burst onto the scene quicker than Chimaev. In 2020, “Borz” established his name with consecutive victories over John Phillips and Rhys McKee in the space of just 10 days, marking a modern UFC record.
Chimaev proved his mettle at middleweight by knocking out divisional veteran Gerald Meerschaert. The fact he was booked to face elite contender Leon Edwards soon after his three unranked wins showed just how high the UFC was on the Chechen-born Swede.
Against ranked opponent Li Jingliang at UFC 267, Chimaev secured his place on the welterweight ladder and even jumped into title contention in the eyes of many by brutally choking out “The Leech.”
“The Motown Phenom” recently signed for Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC following his release from the UFC. He’s now suggested his former promotion’s desire to bring his new boss back to the Octagon has led to Chimaev’s push.
During an appearance on The Schmozone podcast, Lee suggested Dana White and the promotion are trying to play on Khabib’s ego by attempting to build another Dagestani brute to greater heights in the sport, something he believes could draw “The Eagle” back for more.