Khabib ring switch: Russian boxing chief gives update on chances of UFC champ making crossover
Nurmagomedov’s star has risen spectacularly in the past 12 months, first with his victory over Conor McGregor in Las Vegas in October of last year, and more recently with his defeat of Dustin Poirier in the pair’s lightweight title unifier in Abu Dhabi in September.
It was after Nurmagomedov’s dominant win over McGregor that talk was sparked of a potential switch to the squared circle to face Floyd Mayweather Jr – just as the ‘The Notorious’ famously did in the summer of 2017.
Nurmagomedov warned Mayweather that there was “only one king in the jungle,” while Russian Boxing Federation chief Umar Kremlev even held talks with the Dagestani fighter on a move to the ring, with Moscow’s 80,000-seater Luzhniki Stadium proposed as a venue.Also on rt.com ‘There’s only one king in the jungle’ – Khabib calls out Mayweather (VIDEO)
Mayweather also talked up a potential bout, claiming last October that he was looking at a “nine-figure” payday, should it ever happen.
But any notion of a ring move for Nurmagomedov has since cooled substantially, especially as his focus turned towards defending his UFC 155lbs title against Poirier.
That was also the message this week from Russian boxing boss Kremlev when he was asked about 31-year-old Nurmagomedov’s future.
“No, they haven’t made any more offers [for Khabib to switch to boxing],” Kremlev told TASS.
“Switching to boxing from another sport, to me it seems unrealistic. If that happened and someone won, it would be a sensation. I think that Khabib is showing and proving in his sport that he’s the best,” he added.Also on rt.com Khabib manager gives update on plans for UFC lightweight champ’s octagon return
For the meantime, Nurmagomedov’s plans appear firmly fixed on cementing his MMA legacy.
Longtime rival Tony Ferguson is widely seen as being his next opponent, while Nurmagomedov and his team have indicated they are targeting a 30-0 record as a minimum before considering retirement.
And while a Russian ring debut for ‘The Eagle’ may now seem like a remote prospect, it seems increasingly likely that fans will get to see Nurmagomedov in the octagon in his homeland, after the UFC lightweight champ stated recently that there is a “high possibility” that his next fight will be in Russia.Also on rt.com Coming home: Khabib Nurmagomedov says homecoming title fight in Russia is 'highly possible'