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Khabib Nurmagomedov names the three UFC fights he’s bothered to wake up and watch this year

Khabib Nurmagomedov is enjoying life as a retired former UFC champion, and mainly puts his combat sports energy towards coaching and training with his stable of Dagestani fighters. According to ‘The Eagle,’ he no longer watches a whole lot of mixed martial arts. That’s partly because UFC events regularly air at five AM in his country, and party because he no longer has the same passion he once did.

“Maybe it’s because the flame inside of me went out, but I think there’s been a dip in MMA,” he said in a recent forty minute interview with UFC Russia. “That’s what I think, I can be wrong. Everyone has their viewpoint. I think the flame went out a little, that there was a decline. There will always be stars, UFC’s PR machine is strong. Say what you will but they created a powerful machine in the last 30 years. They’ll ignite the flame. But I don’t wake up early to watch fights any more.”

As for which fights did get him excited over the past year?

“I was very interested in [Kamaru Usman’s] fight,” Khabib said. “I don’t know why but I really wanted him to beat that record. I wanted him to beat Anderson Silva’s record [for consecutive wins]. Perhaps it’s because I have good relations with him. I wanted him to beat that record really badly. But what happened happened. Other than that I don’t wake up for these fights. I woke up for Usman’s fight. When you want to watch it, you wake up for it.”

“Other than that, you know what fight it was? I think I woke up for one or two fights this years. Ngannou vs. Gane, I woke up for that one. There was another one … Petr Yan! I woke up for Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling. I couldn’t have missed it. I was really interested in it. Yan vs. Sterling, Ngannou vs. Gane … Mateusz Gamrot vs. Arman Tsarukyan, I definitely would have woken up for it. I was fortunate enough to watch it live.”

As for future fights, Nurmagomedov won’t have to wake up to enjoy UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, which is a rare pay-per-view that will air in primetime for Europe and the Middle East. He’ll be on site cornering his friend and protégé Islam Makhachev, who faces Charles Oliveira for Nurmagomedov’s former 155-pound title. After that?

“I’ll wake up for Adesanya vs. Pereira,” Khabib declared. “That’ll be interesting.”

Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira goes down at UFC 281 on November 12th from Madison Square Garden in New York City. With Zhang Weili vs. strawweight champ Carla Esparza and Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler on the card as well, it’s definitely one worth waking up at five in the morning for.

What do you think of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s comments, PENN Nation? Is MMA in a bit of a dip right now, or is it going stronger than ever? Let us know in the comments!

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