During his in-cage career, Khabib amassed an unblemished 29-0 record that includes 13 triumphs inside the Octagon. Among his perfect promotional slate are title defenses against Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Just Gaethje. After defeating “The Highlight” for his third successful retention in 2020, “The Eagle” called time on his career.
Since then, though, Khabib has firmly maintained a presence in the sport, largely though the cornering of his teammates and compatriots. That’ll be the case next weekend at UFC 280, when the Russian will look to guide multiple fighters to victory in Abu Dhabi, including lightweight title challenger Islam Makhachev.
Aside from his work at the American Kickboxing Academy, Khabib also owns his very own MMA promotion. After purchasing the Gorilla Fighting Championship (GFC) for $1 million, the UFC legend re-branded the organization, naming it the Eagle Fighting Championship (EFC).
But despite maintaining a prominent role in the sport and looking to grow his own promotion, the Dagestani doesn’t believe that MMA is currently on an upward trajectory.
Khabib: ‘I Think The Flame Has Gone Out A Little’
During a sit-down interview with UFC Russia, Khabib was asked about the belief that mixed martial arts peaked a number of years ago and is now beginning to stagnate with a lack of stars and big-name fights.
While he noted that his view might be skewed by his own personal dwindled passion for competing in the sport, Khabib did suggest that MMA is on the “decline.” However, citing the growth of the UFC in such a short timespan as evidence, the Russian suggested that the MMA leader will have no problem changing the tide in the future.
“Maybe it’s because the flame inside of me went out, but I think there’s been a dip in MMA,” Khabib said. “That’s what I think. I could be wrong. Everyone has their viewpoint. I think the flame went out a little (and) that there was a decline.
“(But) there will always be stars. The UFC’s PR machine is strong. Say what you will, but they’ve created a powerful machine in the last 30 years. They’ll ignite the flame,” Khabib added.
While his passion for lacing the gloves and even watching MMA from home may have dropped, a view into the corners of his compatriots and teammates shows that Khabib has no issue motivating himself to help his fellow AKA-based athletes reach their potential inside the cage.
Do you agree with Khabib Nurmagomedov? Has there been a “dip” in MMA?
This story originally appeared on MMANews.com. Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.