One of the biggest stories in the MMA world this past week was the retirement of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Though Nurmagomedov announced his retirement at UFC 254, for the past several months Dana White has insisted that he would be able to convince Khabib to return for one more fight. Earlier this week, the UFC finally moved on from that pipe dream though and so now, finally, Nurmagomedov will be left to pursue his other endeavors, and apparently, chief among those endeavors will be coaching.
At UFC Vegas 22 this past weekend, Nurmagomedov gave an update on his future plans, where he said he was pursuing some “business projects” but still intended to support his brothers fighting in the UFC and one of those brothers, former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, says Khabib has already reached out about training him.
“He’s assuming this coaching role now. He’s going off on me, wanting to coach me. He wants to be a big part of my comeback so it’s pretty funny to see Khabib assume this role,” Rockhold told TMZ Sports. “He’s going for Coach of the Year. That’s what he wants. He wants to be the next great thing, follow in his dad’s footsteps. That’s what his dad always did. His dad was always insightful and always had a good eye for the sport and I think Khabib is ready to assume that role.”
Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, was among the most influential coaches in the sport before passing away last year due to complications from COVID-19. Abdulmanap trained the generation of Dagestani fighters who have become an enormous part of several divisions inside the UFC, most notably his son Khabib. With his father’s passing, Khabib has assumed some of that role from his father, training and cornering his teammates and Rockhold believes it’s a position in which Khabib will excel.
“Of course he can be a good coach,” Rockhold said. “It’s like, sometimes you have to put yourself aside. Even if you know a lot, it’s better to be guided, like a mindless training if you trust in your coach, someone to direct you and put you in the right way, because no matter how much you know, sometimes you’ve got to step back and let somebody else direct the situation.
“He knows how to press the pace. The thing with Khabib, he always pressed. The first day he showed up I was like, I like this kid. The first day he showed up by himself and I was like, he works hard. I was like, come with me, let’s do this, and he always pressed me to my limit. That’s what it really takes. You need someone to get on your back, press you, and he knows all the techniques and the routes to do so.”
With Khabib making the move to coaching and seemingly jumping in with both feet, it’s not hard to see why he’d like to be involved with Rockhold moving forward. The two have been teammates for years at American Kickboxing Academy, but recently, Rockhold has branched out from AKA as he has looked for answers to stop his poor run since losing the middleweight title in 2016. Rockhold has only one win in the last five years and has been knocked out three times during that stretch, including a failed attempt to move up to light heavyweight. Despite briefly flirting with retirement at one point, Rockhold says he’s now targeting a summer return to the cage, back at 185 pounds, once he’s healed up from some lingering issues.
“I think realistically, I think it’s summer time, late summer return,” Rockhold said. “I’ve got to get my body right. My shoulder has been an ongoing issue but it’s finally coming around and getting to a point where I have confidence in it to let it go. I’m pressing to get in shape and it feels good. It feels good to be back in the gym and I’m getting that fire back.”
Perhaps Khabib will be the one to lead him back up the mountain.
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UFC Vegas Post Show.
UFC Vegas 22 Post-Fight Press Conference.
UFC 260 Countdown.
Underdog UFC champions.
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Last night wasn’t my prettiest but let’s not forget I have the 2nd most KOs in UFC MW history and the most 1st. round finishes in UFC MW history . Tipsy Costa lmk when you’re ready ! @BorrachinhaMMA— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) March 21, 2021
I like this Derek.— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) March 21, 2021
Congrats on another one.
Feed Costa to him, let him eat!! https://t.co/DojZ1Nz3UU
It’s all fun and games until you realize you only got half a check— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) March 21, 2021
Means you should go to 145.
Best I’ve felt - 170.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) March 21, 2021
Best record/run - 145.
Best performance - 155.
What does this tell me?
I’ve no idea but I love it hahahahaah pic.twitter.com/qA5Zen75bF
Robert Whittaker suffers a vicious KO in training.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
Will Khabib ever become Coach of the Year?
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