Tyson Fury says Khabib ‘did it right’
Tyson Fury has lauded another undefeated star of combat sports, Russian fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov, for exiting his sport at its absolute summit.
Nurmagomedov stepped away from mixed martial arts with an undefeated 29-0 record shortly after defending his UFC lightweight title against gritty American Justin Gaethje in Abu Dhabi – and has, so far at least, resisted any urge to make what would be an undoubtedly money-spinning return to the cage.
Writing on social media Fury, who is also unbeaten in the professional ranks, posted a picture of Khabib taken at Old Trafford when he was a guest of Manchester United, along with a brief passage in which he praised the UFC icon's accomplishments.
“This man did it right. Got in & won & got out on top,” wrote Fury.
“Big respect [Khabib].”
Fury's tweet might well resurrect retirement rumors for the 'Gypsy King', who has risen back to the top of the heavyweight game after a three-year hiatus from the sport following his world title win against Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.
Speaking late last year, Fury suggested that his time in the spotlight is coming to a close – and said that he most definitely won't be fighting into his late 30s or early 40s as some other heavyweights have done.
“Every good dog has its day,” Fury told iFLTV in December.
“Me being a good dog, my day is nearly over. [I’m] 33-years-old and I’ve been through hell and back. I’ve ballooned up and down to 28 stone. I’ve been back up and down all my life.
“I haven’t got a 40-year-old career in me. I’ve got maybe another year or so left, and that’s it. Another couple of fights, and that’s it. I’m out. I’ve got nothing to prove. I’ve got nothing to finalize with anybody.
“All I want to do is enjoy what I’ve done now, and that’s it. Have another couple of fights. I know my dad will be glad to see me walk away after a couple of fights.
“I’ve got a couple of fights left in me. Win, lose, or draw them, you’re going to see a good fight. That’s guaranteed.”
Fury is expected to defend his WBC crown against fellow Brit Dillian Whyte in April in what – if his statement is to be believed – will be one of his final bouts, leaving his career clock very much ticking to deliver the much-hyped showdown with another Englishman, Anthony Joshua.
Much of the luster of that particular fight was lost when Joshua was shut down by Oleksandr Usyk in his last fight – though it still remains one of the biggest potential fights on the heavyweight boxing landscape.
But judging by his lofty appraisal of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Fury also wants to make sure that when he does choose to walk into the sunset he does so without a single blemish on his resume – and it would take a brave man to bet against a fighter who has continually upset the odds at almost every step throughout his career.