Khabib Nurmagomedov considers his teammates to be family so it was an understandably tough moment for the UFC lightweight champion to watch Daniel Cormier suffer a knockout loss to Stipe Miocic at UFC 241.
It was a particularly heartbreaking moment considering Cormier had won the majority of the first three rounds before Miocic adjusted his game plan in the fourth round as he started digging to the body with a series of stiff punches.
Mioicic eventually hurt Cormier and then finished the fight with a barrage of shots to the head that sent the UFC heavyweight title back home with him to Cleveland.
Days after their fight ended, Cormier then suffered a tragic personal loss after his father passed away following a battle with cancer. It was a rough stretch for the fighters at American Kickboxing Academy, which is where Nurmagomedov calls his home away from home when he’s in training camp.
“When DC loses, it was a very sad moment for us,” Nurmagomedov said on Friday during the UFC 242 media conference call. “Same time, Cain Velasquez lost his mother and after a couple of days, DC lost his father. It was a little bit hard week for all AKA team but it is what it is. When God wants something, nobody can change this. Losing the belt is nothing when you lose your father or mother. When you lose belt, of course DC is sad but when you lose you father, it’s completely different.
“We feel bad for him but we know how DC is a competitor, how DC is strong. I want to wish him good luck. We just talked with him a couple of days ago. We talked with him about my fight, we talk about his fight, about his father, but I just try to give him good energy. Right now he’s having a hard time in his life but time changes everything. I know he’s going to be good.”
Following the loss to Miocic at UFC 241, Cormier wasn’t ready to address his future after previously hinting that his retirement could be looming after that fight.
Perhaps a win would have been the perfect conclusion to what most believe is a Hall of Fame-worthy career but the loss puts Cormier in a precarious position as he looks ahead at what may come next for him.
For his part, Nurmagomedov hopes his friend and teammate will come back for one last fight with a chance to avenge his loss to Miocic and reclaim the heavyweight title before calling it a career.
“I really want him to fight with Stipe Miocic rematch and finish his career,” Nurmagomedov said. “This is what I want.
“I don’t know about his plan but honestly I want him to fight maybe February or March, fight with him last fight and then finish.”