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Khabib Nurmagomedov denies eating tiramisu before UFC 209, rebuffs retirement rumors

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Much has been said and written about Khabib Nurmagomedov over the past two months, a lot of it dealing with the ill-timed sickness that forced Nurmagomedov to withdraw from UFC 209 a day before his interim UFC title fight against Tony Ferguson.

But a few other things have been floated about Nurmagomedov of late as well, including reports that the 28-year-old’s father is pushing for “The Eagle” to retire within the next couple years. And according to Nurmagomedov, those reports just aren’t true.

“Nobody is trying (to get me to retire),” Nurmagomedov said Monday on The MMA Hour. “I know my father talked about this with Russian media, and U.S. media make, like, different translation. But how I retire if I have to fight for the title? Now, I have very big name, and now, a lot of big fights are coming. How I retire? I no understand, who talk about this?”

Nurmagomedov revealed Monday on The MMA Hour that he plans to nurse his health back to full strength with a treatment plan in Germany that he hopes will get him ready to compete by the end of September. Nurmagomedov declined to elaborate on that mystery treatment plan, only saying that he hopes it will “fix” the issues that plagued him at UFC 209 and put him back on the lightweight title chase after being continually derailed by injuries and bad luck over the past three years.

“I’m going to fight,” Nurmagomedov said. “First of all, I’m going to fix my body and stay healthy, because the last three years, I don’t remember when I train or when I’m going to fight (and) I’m healthy. I don’t remember this. Because now I’m going to fix everything and come back stronger. But about retiring, I don’t think about this.”

In speaking about the situation that befell him at UFC 209, Nurmagomedov accepted fault for his illness, which he suffered while cutting weight the night before official weigh-ins. Nonetheless, Nurmagomedov said weight cutting wasn’t the culprit for his problems. He also defended himself from allegations made by fight fans and Ferguson alike that he ate tiramisu on UFC Embedded days out from the fight.

“I no understand why people talk about this. I don’t eat this,” Nurmagomedov said. “We’re going to restaurant and we chill together, everything, but [I was the only one] cutting weight. The other guys, no cutting weight, and everybody eat everything. But I don’t eat any of this stuff. I eat only my food. I no understand why people talk about this. Somebody ordered cake and somebody eat cake — of course somebody eat cake — but I don’t eat nothing. I don’t eat this cake. I did nothing, but I don’t understand why people talk about this.”

Regardless of how things occurred, Nurmagomedov’s dropout of UFC 209 served as the latest in a long line of out-of-the-cage setbacks that have seemingly plagued the Dagestani’s UFC career. The fight between he and Ferguson alone has already been booked and canceled by the UFC three separate times. And considering the way things happened at UFC 209, Nurmagomedov said he now desires that fight more than even a shot at the UFC title.

“I pull out. Maybe I don’t deserve (to fight for the title) now,” Nurmagomedov said. “We have Conor (McGregor), he’s going to fight with (Floyd) Mayweather. He thinks he’s going to fight with Mayweather. And Tony Ferguson, who? Now this is biggest fight in UFC lightweight division, Tony versus me. This is biggest fight, and I no understand. I hope I fight with Tony now. This is dream fight. This is like my dream fight. If UFC say, ‘hey, you want to fight for the title or you want a fight with Tony Ferguson?’ Of course I say give me Tony Ferguson.

“I want to fight with him so badly. This is crazy. This is my No. 1 dream fight.”

Nurmagomedov added that he feels like fans have not supported much since UFC 209, however he understands where they are coming from and he plans to make things right before the year is over.

“Fans are upset very badly, but it’s okay, I agree with these guys,” Nurmagomedov said.

“I need a little bit of time, fix my body, come back, make weight, and smash somebody when I come back, and everything becomes like perfectly. It’s okay. So sometimes you lose, sometimes you cannot make weight. This is the game. This is MMA. ... Anything can come, but now I feel good and I’m going to fix everything, and the next time I’m going to do everything perfectly.”