Since retiring from competition, Khabib Nurmagomedov has become one of the top coaches in mixed martial arts but it appears he’ll be stepping away from that role as well for the time being.
The former UFC lightweight champion posted a message on Instagram that seemed to hint that he was leaving MMA while posing for a picture alongside his teammates. The caption (translated via Instagram) stated “the year certainly turned out to be a very busy and successful. Take care of yourself brothers. I hope my decision is only for the best, a big hug to you all.”
Now sources close to Nurmagomedov speaking to MMA Fighting confirmed that the 34-year-old Dagestani native will be “taking some time off for his family” but that doesn’t necessarily signal that he’s leaving coaching behind forever. A source stated Nurmagomedov “never knows” what may happen in the future.
Russian reporter Igor Lazorin first reported the news about Nurmagomedov’s plans on Instagram.
At this time, it’s unclear if Nurmagomedov will be leaving the sport immediately or if he’ll still plan on serving some function in Islam Makhachev’s upcoming fight as he defends the UFC lightweight title against Alexander Volkanovski in the UFC 284 main event from Australia.
The decision for Nurmagomedov to take a step back from MMA comes as a shock after he quickly established himself as one of the top coaches in the sport following his retirement from fighting in October 2020.
He’s worked with fighters such as Makhachev, new Bellator lightweight champion Usman Nurmagomedov, Umar Nurmagomedov, Abubakar Nurmagomedov and even served as a cornerman and coach for Belal Muhammad during his recent win over Sean Brady.
Of course, Nurmagomedov opting to spend more time with his family after a very successful year in coaching mirrors his retirement from active competition just after he had established himself as a three-time defending UFC champion.
Following his win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, Nurmagomedov announced he was retiring after making a promise to his mother following the tragic death of his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, just months earlier due to complications from COVID-19.
This time around it looks like Nurmagomedov just wants to spend more time with his family where he’s a husband and father of three after being required to travel and work across the globe while coaching his group of athletes during a rigorous fight schedule over the past year.