Coach Says Khabib Nurmagomedov ‘Misses The Feeling’ And Gives Timetable Of Possible Return

Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov Credit: Jeff Sherwood/

Khabib Nurmagomedov misses fighting. So, you’re saying a return to the octagon is possible for Khabib? Well, not so fast. Only if his mother gives him permission.

Khabib’s head coach for over eight years, Javier Mendez, gave an interview with Betway Insider this week, and of course, his retired Russian fighter was a big topic of discussion.

According to Mendez, Khabib texted him ‘Send me location’ which to many would possibly mean he wants to fight someone, but his coach knows it’s just Khabib being Khabib and him messing around. Mendez did say the former UFC lightweight champ, who retired last year at 29-0, misses fighting and training, however.

“I guess you could say he wants to fight again – but absolutely not because his mother would have to give him permission before any of that. I mean, he misses training, he misses fighting,” Mendez told Betway Insider. “I took it as he misses being around me and coaching. Our relationship is more than fighting; that goes beyond fighting. It’s not a relationship like: ‘ok, I’m done with my career, you know, my coach and I were just distant friends.’ No. We’re family; we grew with each other. “They’re family to me, and we’ll always be in each other’s lives for the rest of our lives.”

When Khabib cornered his cousin Abubakar Nurmagomedov back in UFC 260, he felt the energy that only fighters can describe, making Khabib admit he misses that feeling.

“You know, when we went to the last fight and his cousin Abubakar was to fight, he just got all energized, and he said, ‘I miss this feeling.’ And it’s a feeling that he’s gonna miss for a while because of that adrenaline you get from entering that octagon with all those people cheering you on. It’s hard to replace that in normal life because normal life is not like that,” Mendez said.

When asked if he feels Khabib might feel tempted to come back and fight, Mendez said, “I don’t talk to him about if he’s tempted to get back in, so I don’t know. What I do know is his mother’s bond and his mother’s wishes are extremely important to him, and if he did ever decide, it would have to be his mother and him talking, and his mother would have to give him her blessing. Even if he wanted to fight, it’s never gonna happen. He will not disobey his mother; he will not. That’s just who he is.”

As for a timetable for a possible return, Mendez says two years. Khabib will not compete past his prime, which Mendez believes he is still in.

“I can say this comfortably, that after two years out of the octagon, there will definitely be no comeback,” Mendez said. “I’d definitely say that when he’s past his prime, definitely not because he’s not going to compete when he’s not able to compete. But I can honestly say that if he’s still in his prime, there’s always the possibility that he and his mother could talk. I can say that.”

“I wouldn’t bet against it, but I know there is a possible situation that I could see. If there was something that would bring him back, it’s him still being in his prime and him and his mother talking.”