Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the rare people that got out from MMA before it was too late. While some argue Nurmagomedov quit the sport too early to reach GOAT (greatest of all time) status, unlike many veterans, Nurmagomedov left prior to accumulating damage that might hinder his ability to live his life.
Nurmagomedov became a champion with an odd victory against Al Iaquinta in 2018 and went on to defend the title 3 times prior to his father’s untimely passing and retirement from mixed martial arts.
But fans of Dagestani wrestling didn’t have to wait long for another champion. Nurmagomedov’s longtime friend made his way to the title in October of 2022 despite the fact that Charles Oliveira had defended several times to date.
Makhachev submitted Oliveira and the rest is history. Even though Oliveira’s manager claimed they passed on a rematch in order to recover mentally and physically, many felt UFC was snubbing him.
Now Khabib Nurmagomedov has come out and confirmed Makhachev has a laser sharp focus and a time frame in mind.
Nurmagomedov told Red Corner:
“I think he needs at least five,”
“Maybe six. That would be ideal. Six defenses, that’s six fights and three years. Then it’s possible that the sport leaves him because nobody can stay on top forever.”
“The way the almighty created a man, he first becomes strong then weak. He’s young then he’s old. Knowing that, the goal is five-six defenses.”
This is on par with a number of Islamic athletes – because doing mixed martial arts is actually not in agreement with their faith.
Chimaev promised his mother he would retire after cementing his legacy as the Greatest mixed martial artist in the world:
“My mother thinks I become a champion after each fight I win,” Chimaev said (h/t Sports Manor)
“I did promise I will retire when I become a legit champion. So my goal is to be no. 1 and then I will retire.”
Rising flyweight Muhammad Mokaev also plans to retire early:
“I have been focused in this game. When you focus, you get tired of this. Especially I have family. Now I’m more into religion. I’m still not there but I try my best. I think there’s better life. I want to see better life than sport.”
Earlier this year, another Muslim prospect retired. Zabit Magomedsharipov was reportedly very unhappy with how the UFC treated him:
“They promised me one thing and did another. That was a little bit… They promised me and didn’t keep a promise. That was the reason why I got mad.”