In a recent interview, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s longtime coach and mentor Javier Mendez stated that “The Eagle” is having difficulty adjusting to life outside of fighting, and while this may be true, Khabib is also relishing the freedom that comes with retirement.
Nurmagomedov has no regrets about his decision to quit and is relieved to be out of the “prison” of being a UFC champion.
“I am living the life of an ordinary person, not the one of a professional athlete,” Nurmagomedov told UFC Russia in a recent interview. “I think living the life of an athlete is somewhat close to being held in a prison. Because everyday he has to do exactly the same thing — train, rest, then train again, then rest. It’s like living in the same mode, at the same pace, not slowing down.
“Once you slow down, you are no longer a champion. So I have just released myself from this prison in a way.”
Despite the fact that the former UFC lightweight champion misses kicking asses in the octagon, he insists that his choice to quit is definite.
“Well, I miss almost everything if I can say so,” Nurmagomedov said. “There are so many moments when I feel lack of competition or it’s spirit, you know. There are many things that I miss. Simply because I spent my entire life doing them. No, there was not a single moment when I had regrets or doubts about my decision. However, I miss this competition environment itself, training camps, losing weight, etc.
“Because it’s some sort of an addiction and you can’t get rid of it, it simply exists. Sometimes you just want to enter the octagon and kick ass, fight for five rounds straight and make it really tough. But life is life. Even if not now, then at some point in life, I’d have quit and say no to this sport anyway.”
Khabib finished his athletic career with a 29-0 record, including stoppage victories over Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje. However, he claims that only time will tell if it was the right decision.
“Only time will tell [if this was the right time to retire],” he said. “It always does. Should have I or should have I not? We may endlessly speculate. Khabib had such a chance to fight with this guy or that guy but it’s a never ending talk. There will always be new contenders, new champions. Much younger, much hungrier. They were before me and they will be after me.
“So you have to keep it in mind and leave this sport when the right time comes. The wealthiest man is the self-sufficient one. If you have just the right amount of everything, you are at peace with your head and thoughts, then you are the wealthiest. Even if you don’t have all those millions, that posh life, if what you have is enough, then you will always be the wealthiest.”