Khabib Nurmagomedov says retirement is ‘very close’

Khabib Nurmagomedov
Image: UFC on Instagram

Khabib Nurmagomedov is scheduled to defend the UFC lightweight title against streaking contender Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 this April. While this mammoth showdown is at the forefront of the champ’s mind at the moment, he is also thinking about his inevitable retirement from MMA—which is apparently “around the corner.”

“Well, we don’t have a plan for when we’re going to finish but I do know it is not over the mountains, as they say,” Khabib said during a recent Q&A in Russia (Via RT Sport). “That time is very close.

“I don’t want to think about the future, I still have to live to April, I still have to fight, I need to win,” Nurmagomedov continued. “So, I don’t like to look too far ahead. Now we have an opponent, Tony Ferguson, a very serious opponent. And I think it’s necessary to have this fight then we’ll sit down and think about what’s next.

“We’ll consider whether there’s any point in fighting any more. There will always be a reason to fight: money. But will we need it? We’ll think about it. I feel good now. I’m 31 and it’s a very good age to fight, and for sport. I’m far from retirement age, but it’s around the corner.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently a flawless 28-0 as a professional fighter—easily the most impressive undefeated record in the sport at present. Highlights of his resume include recent victories over top-flight opposition such as Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Al Iaquinta, Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson and Rafael dos Anjos.

Tony Ferguson will enter his fight will enter his fight with Nurmagomedov on a 12-fight win-streak, and is widely regarded as the champ’s toughest challenge to date.

Should Nurmagomedov get by Ferguson, he’ll certainly be short on credible challenges in the lightweight division, having beaten many of his rivals. At 31, however, he is still undeniably in his prime.

When do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov will retire?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/23/2019.