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Morning Report: Khabib Nurmagomedov hints at magic number for retirement: ‘30-0 is going to be great’

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Khabib Nurmagomedov
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

For Khabib Nurmagomedov, the opportunity to go out on top someday could prove irresistible.

With a win over Justin Gaethje this Saturday at UFC 254, Nurmagomedov would not only record his third straight lightweight title defense, he’d improve his unblemished pro record to 29-0. He’s beaten a dozen UFC opponents, with dominant victories against elite fighters like Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Al Iaquinta, Edson Barboza, and Rafael dos Anjos.

It’s rare for any combat sports athlete to go their entire career without a loss, but the 32-year-old Nurmagomedov plans to do just that and follow in the footsteps of legendary boxers like Rocky Marciano and McGregor nemesis Floyd Mayweather. Now it’s just a matter of finding the magic number that will be enough for Nurmagomedov to lay down his gloves for good.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” Nurmagomedov told Yahoo! Sports (transcript via The Body Lock). “30-0 is going to be great. It’s looking good, it sounds good.

“30-0, okay. It’s going to be a great record, this is like Mayweather in MMA. We’ll see, I’m very close to it.”

Beyond the big question mark of how his fight with Gaethje will go, Nurmagomedov’s plan to go at least 30-0 is dependent on what’s next for him following another win. “The Eagle” will have seemingly cleared out his division, though several potential matchups continue to be proposed. McGregor has long campaigned for a rematch after losing to Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, a perpetually snake-bitten matchup with Tony Ferguson remains a possibility despite losing some of its cache with Gaethje having stopped Ferguson’s lengthy win streak, and both Nurmagomedov and UFC legend Georges St-Pierre have expressed a mutual interest in a legacy battle should “GSP” ever decide to compete again.

Nurmagomedov also recently said that UFC President Dana White has “something special” in the works for him, though neither man has gone into detail as to what that might be and Nurmagomedov expressly asked White to wait until after his fight with Gaethje to move forward with discussions.

Even if opponent No. 30 doesn’t turn out to be an earth-shattering name, Nurmagomedov is already confident that a win against Gaethje further cements his reputation among the all-time greats.

“Who knows?” Nurmagomedov said. “Okay, I finish Justin Gaethje, I finish one more guy, I dominate him—I think my name is going to be always in history,” Nurmagomedov said. “I think already my name is going to be in history because two years ago what happened [against McGregor] is never going to be forgotten. Even after 50 years, people are going to watch this fight and be impressed. This is like when Muhammad Ali fought [Joe] Frazier in Manila. People never forget this fight.

“I’m already in history but I need legacy. For legacy, Justin Gaethje is a great opponent right now.”


MUST-READ STORIES

Next. UFC featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski is looking forward to a fight with Brian Ortega.

Evolution. Ortega had to level up to score a big win over “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung.

Challenge. Jessica Andrade is ready for a fight with UFC flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko.

Get well. Umar Nurmagomedov’s UFC debut has once again hit a snag.


VIDEO STEW

UFC Fight Island 6 post-fight show featuring featherweight contender Calvin Kattar.

UFC Fight Island 6 post-fight press conference

UFC 254 cold open.

UFC 254 Countdown

Father and son.

Dan Hardy breaks down all of Saturday’s action.

Teofimo Lopez vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko highlights.


LISTEN UP

6th Round. Immediate post-fight analysis of UFC Fight Island 6.

Severe MMA. Discussing UFC Fight Island 6, Khabib-Gaethje, and open scoring.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Khamzat Chimaev wants to travel back to UFC 1.

Triple C looking for another C.

Tony Ferguson. GSP? SUG???

Dustin Poirier is ready for January.

Jon Jones be Jon Jonesin’ on social media.

Michael Chandler is free to roam.

Justin Gaethje and Zombie.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Adam Borics (15-1) vs. Erick Sanchez (9-5); Bellator 250, Oct. 29.

Jared Scoggins (10-1) vs. Toby Misech (11-7); Bellator 250, Oct. 29.

Kevin Holland (19-5) vs. Makhmud Muradov (24-6); UFC Fight Night, Oct. 31.

Alex Morono (17-6, 1 NC) vs. Rhys McKee (10-3-1); UFC Fight Night, Nov. 14.

Jessica Eye (15-8, 1 NC) vs. Joanne Calderwood (14-5); UFC 257, Jan. 23.


FINAL THOUGHTS

With Brian Ortega vs. “The Korean Zombie” in the books, that’s one highly-anticipated Fight Island matchup that went off without a hitch. Surely, the same will hold true for Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje, right? Right.

Jed Meshew will be back tomorrow, thanks for reading!


EXIT POLL

Poll

Who was the biggest star of UFC Fight Island 6?

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  • 77%
    Brian Ortega
    (727 votes)
  • 7%
    Jessica Andrade
    (73 votes)
  • 8%
    Jimmy Crute
    (81 votes)
  • 0%
    Jonathan Martinez
    (6 votes)
  • 2%
    Jun Yong Park
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