Khabib Nurmagomedov addresses retirement rumours ahead of UFC 254 bout with Justin Gaethje

Khabib Nurmagomedov insists retiriement isn’t at the forefront of his mind right now. The undefeated Russian will return to the Octagon later this month in the main event of UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi, where’ll he defend his lightweight title against his interim counterpart Justin Gaethje.

Much of the narrative going into the eagerly-anticipated unification fight has centred around Nurmagomedov’s fighting future, which has been a topic of debate ever since the passing of his father and coach, Abdulmanap.

Nurmagomedov’s perfect 28-0 record has also furthered suggestions retirement is on the horizon.

But according to ‘The Eagle’, the prospect of hanging up his gloves hasn’t crossed his mind and is something he’s not contemplating at this moment in time.

“I don’t think [retirement after this fight],” Nurmagomedov said. “We have a couple options. We’re going to think about this after this fight.”

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We’re going to think about this after this fight

Khabib Nurmagomedov on the prospect of retirement

Nurmagomedov’s decision to continue fighting has seemed to have partly stemmed from a tantalising offer from UFC president Dana White.

“Dana told me after this fight, he has something special for me,” Russia’s first UFC champion said. “But I told him, ‘Please keep this, after fight we’re going to talk.’ He say has very big things after this fight for me. We’ll see.”

Although he currently has no intention of walking away from mixed martial arts, Nurmagomedov admits he doesn’t know what will be next for him if he gets past Gaethje.

“Very good question, honestly – very good question,” he said. “I don’t know. For example, I’m going to finish Justin Gaethje inside the cage Oct. 24. What else? This is very good question.

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“I love competition. I love to compete with the best fighters in the world. That’s why I am here.

“I’m not in the UFC to make money. I have a lot of business projects outside the UFC, I can make money. Good question. Very good question.”

A lucrative rematch with bitter rival Conor McGregor has been mooted ever since Nurmagomedov retained his lightweight title against the Irishman with a fourth-round submission victory in the main event of UFC 229.

Nurmagomedov was open to the idea of rematching ‘The Notorious’ after coaching opposite him on The Ultimate Fighter, which the UFC were looking to revive next year.

McGregor’s recent outburst at White on social media, however, have well and truly nixed those plans.

“[Khabib] was gonna do it until Conor did all this sh*t,” White told Barstool Sports. “That’s what I was saying. I felt like I was in a good place and we were going to get that done.

“We were going to do The Ultimate Fighter on ESPN and f**king do the rematch but Conor blew that.”

UFC 254 will take place at the Flash Forum on Fight Island (Yas Island), Abu Dhabi.

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