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Khabib's trainer hints at UFC return with retirement an 'emotional decision' and says 'time will tell' over comeback

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV'S shock retirement was an 'emotional decision', revealed his trainer who said 'time will tell' over a return.

The lightweight king moved to 29-0 at UFC 254 on Fight Island, after he submitted Justin Gaethje in round two.

But afterwards Nurmagomedov – fighting for the first time since the loss of his influential father – announced he would be hanging up the gloves.

The shock reveal came as a surprise even to his head coach Javier Mendez, who had no idea about the 32-year-old's decision.

But Mendez knows Nurmagomedov was overwhelmed with emotions after the win, leaving his fighting career up in the air.

He told SunSport: "Look at his emotions, he was in tears, he was all over the place.

"I had no idea, he never said anything to me, so I was just like everyone else. But hey, you know what, I understood the father burden was too much.

"You saw how much he let out, and I went up to him and told him, 'I love you, cry and just let it out'.

"Khabib, he was extremely emotional and what he does with that, I don't know.


"I know he said what he said, but he was extremely emotional and time will tell if it will stick or not.

"Honestly, I don't know and I'm not going to talk to him about it either, not my job. My job is to love him and coach him when he wants to fight."

Nurmagomedov's dad and mentor Abdulmanap died in July aged 57 after contracting coronavirus.

Dagestani hero Khabib had revealed previously that his father wanted him to end with 30 fights, preferably facing UFC legend Georges St-Pierre.

And Mendez was confused further having been present when Nurmagomedov rubbished suggestions he could retire this year.

The American Kickboxing Academy trainer feels if Khabib has the backing of his mother to carry on, he could fulfil Abdulmanap's dream of one more fight.


But if the Russian grappler decides to finish now, at the top of his game, Mendez will be there to support him as a friend, not coach.

He said: "If his mother sees that he can continue and that Khabib did actually want to continue then she may so go and fulfil your father's legacy and go 30-0.

"I don't know, but when I was present he'd always say, 'Why do you guys talk about retirement, I'm only 32'.

"So how is it that all of a sudden you're retired? What else can explain why? His emotions.

"He was very emotional, to me if he does retire, like I said it doesn't matter we're still there for him, but if he doesn't, I'm there as his coach too.

"If he's retired, I'm not going to say, 'Are you sure?

"I'm not going to say anything, but it was an emotional decision by far and I can't tell you if he's done or not – what I can tell you was it was an emotional decision."

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