‘The questions will never end’: Nurmagomedov talks comeback, weight after shunning $100MN Mayweather bout in Saudi Arabia (VIDEO)
UFC legend and retired lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has spoken about his highest ever weight, his plans to shun going into coaching full time and the mouthwatering fee he was offered to face Floyd Mayweather.
Sharp analyst Nurmagomedov was a keen viewer as his Eagle Fighting Championship held an event in Kazan, where he hopes to open his own gym and hold future events.
Nurmagomedov watched Vladimir Daineko knock out Leonid Timoshenko in a heavyweight clash as one of eight main fights on the bill, also visiting sports facilities in Almetyevsk, where he spoke to young athletes.
Almost inevitably, the sporting icon fielded familiar queries about whether he might return to extend his unbeaten 29-fight MMA career, having retired after beating Justin Gaethje in October.
"Those questions will never end," accepted the Dagestani, who has always maintained that he has no plans to step back in the octagon despite the overtures of the likes of UFC president Dana White.
"I think I’ll be asked, 10 years from now, 'Oh, there are fighters that fought at 42 in the UFC. Will you return?'
"But I wouldn’t wait for my comeback. You’ll be waiting a long time. Why do I need to come [back] out? I’m not interested in self-affirmation or money."
Still only 32, Nurmagomedov is pursuing a number of business ventures, and batted off more hopeful enquiries by emphasizing that he is not "interested at all" in a grappling match.
"Why do I need to grapple someone?," he asked. "I’m tired of, as they say, diving for sweaty legs.
"We grapple in training. But to fight in an arena to prove…I don’t even know what to prove."
Despite being in the corner of many of his friends and relatives, four of whom will fight in July alone, Khabib doesn't intend to dedicate himself to coaching.
"I don’t think it’d be right for me to be just a coach," he said. "I can do so much more, so I don’t plan on doing that.
"When my brothers fight, I’m happy to advise them. Since I have a lot of experience in the octagon, I can give good advice – especially when it’s guys that you grew up with and know well.
"You know their strengths and weaknesses, how they match up against their opponent. I’ll be doing that in the future."
Pushed on his walk around weight at the moment, Khabib asked: "You mean to do a grappling self affirmation match to attract attention to Eagle FC?
"I can do [that], but I’m not interested. I think I can just invite a good grappler instead."
Asked again, he fired back "What's your weight? Do you know that you never ask a wrestler’s or a woman’s weight and age?
"You don’t even ask a wrestler’s age and never ask about weight. I know wrestlers... they stand like this and hide their weight. So it’s not polite to ask about weight."
Nurmagomedov knocked back suggestions he was at his record weight since retiring. "No, I’ve weighed more," he retorted, adding that he had been at his heaviest in 2017, when he had back surgery shortly before fighting.
"I weighed 203lb. Then on December 29th [at the weigh in for UFC 219 the next day, where he won against Edson Barboza], I weighed 155.
"I weighed my most because when I had surgery I couldn’t run or lift weights for five or six months. Now I weigh a lot less."
One of the huge offers he has been made is against another fighter who is routinely in athletic shape.
A bout with boxer Floyd Mayweather – one of the other rare fighters to have gone out as a champion with a perfect record – could have followed the increasingly well-worn path to Saudi Arabia, where the heavyweight boxing match between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua had also been expected to take place before contractual complications scuppered proceedings.
"The enticement is always there," said Nurmagomedov of the proposal to meet Mayweather.
"There were such discussions with Saudi Arabia. They wanted me to fight there.
"I don’t know about $100 million. That wasn’t the exact sum, but around that. When it comes to fights like that, what’s $100 million?"