Khabib explains why he wasn’t in Islam Makhachev’s corner at UFC 294

Craig Kidwell / USA TODAY Network, IMAGO

Islam Makhachev won his rematch with Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 294, and his long time training partner in Khabib Nurmagomedov has congratulated him from the sidelines.

“Best fighter in the world today,” he wrote about Islam Makhachev on social media. “Love you Brother and congratulations.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov explains absence from UFC 294

Khabib was also absent during the first Makhachev vs. Volkanovski bout, but the retired former lightweight champion again explained why he wasn’t there with his long time teammate at UFC 294.

“If you guys ask me where have I been? Why wasn’t I in the corner, I already answered this question,” Khabib wrote. “I don’t go to fights, I don’t go to the corner and I completely left everything related to MMA.

“I ask you to accept my decision the same way as my brothers, friends and sparring partners did,” he continued.

“What our team achieved will forever be in the history of MMA.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov has completely left MMA

Soon after his father and coach passed away, Khabib retired from MMA in his prime and undefeated at 29-0. Despite Dana White’s repeated efforts to try and get him back, he has stayed true to his word after promising his mother he’d stop competing.

He coached for a while after, looking to have followed in his father’s footsteps, as he helped lead Islam Makhachev and other teammates to big wins and titles in the UFC and Bellator. Eventually though, he retired from coaching as well.

As Khabib noted on his post, he has completely left the sport of MMA to focus on his family.

Too much travel and training camps

Umar Nurmagomedov explained that all the travel and long training camps even as a coach eventually became too much for Khabib.

“He will not travel too much,” Umar said about his teammate and former coach. “He will take care of himself, his family, his mother. I think these are very hard things, like traveling too much cornering everybody, this is not easy. That’s why he made the decision. And I’m happy for him.

“I think this guy has in his blood coaching fighters,” he continued. “I don’t think he can stop it, he will still control me and my brother, other guys, but not the same [way], you understand? He doesn’t want to travel, doesn’t want to come to camps and stay with us a couple of months.”

March 5, 2022, Las Vegas, NV, LAS VEGAS, NV, United States: LAS VEGAS, NV - March 5: (R-L) Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tagir Ulanbekov during the UFC 272: Covington vs Masvidal - Event on March 5, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV, United States. Las Vegas, NV United States - ZUMAp175 20220305_zsa_p175_169
Louis Grasse / ZUMA Wire, IMAGO

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Anton Tabuena


Anton Tabuena is the Managing Editor for Bloody Elbow. He’s been covering MMA and combat sports since 2009, and has also fought in MMA, Muay Thai and kickboxing.

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