Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was one of the best coaches in all of MMA this past year. Nurmagomedov along with AKA’s Javier Mendes were arguably the 2022 coaches of the year for their success. The biggest success coming at UFC 280 when Islam Makhachev became the lightweight champion.
Next month, Makhachev is set to defend his lightweight championship against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. The fight goes down in Australia and is a massive superfight for the promotion. Everyone expected Nurmagomedov to lead the corner for Makhachev.
However, Khabib shocked everyone over the weekend when it was announced that he was leaving MMA altogether to focus on his family. Khabib walked away as a fighter when he was at the top of his game as the undefeated UFC lightweight champion.
He turned his attention to coaching and quickly became one to the top coaches in the sport. Now, he’s completely walking away to focus on business and his family.
AKA’s Javier Mendes told Yahoo Sports, “He just doesn’t want to miss being a father. He talked to me about three weeks ago and told me of his plan and said he planned to talk to the team and inform them of his decision. He’s doing this for the right reasons. He’s a family man and he simply wants to spend more time with his family.”
UFC 284 Impact
The news comes just weeks away from UFC 284’s superfight. Javier Mendes will lead the corner for Islam Makhachev, but it’s going to be a massive loss not having Khabib in the corner. Makhachev came up under the tutelage of the late Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov and was always like a little brother to Khabib.
There’s no doubt that Makhachev is the best lightweight in the UFC and his skills are there to defeat the pound-for-pound king Volkanovski. However, not having Khabib in his corner is a loss and it’s going to be felt if the fight is close.
When Makhachev runs through opponents, obviously the loss of Khabib won’t be felt. But if UFC 284 turns into a war, it’s going to have an impact not having Khabib’s voice in that corner. Definitely an interesting wrinkle ahead of the title fight.