Since finding immeasurable success inside the Octagon, where he extended his unbeaten record to 29-0 and reigned on the lightweight throne through three defenses prior to his retirement in 2020, Khabib has focused on helping forge the paths of others.
As well as owning his own promotion post-fight career, “The Eagle” has been training the next generation of Dagestani phenoms alongside coach Javier Mendez at the American Kickboxing Academy.
But it appears that Khabib’s time in the sport in any capacity has come to an end, with reports stating that the Russian standout has decided to call time on his involvement in mixed martial arts.
Since the news emerged, many in the community have reacted in different ways. While the likes of Chael Sonnen initially doubted the revelation before pondering what it might mean for Khabib’s protégé Islam Makhachev, others have gone down a similar path to 2020 — reflecting on the career and legacy of the GOAT contender.
Daniel Cormier: ‘Khabib Doesn’t Want To Miss The Important Moments’
In the latter group is Daniel Cormier, who formed a bond with Khabib during their days training together at AKA. With that said, the former champ-champ assessed his teammate’s decision and praised the motive behind it during a recent episode of ESPN MMA’s DC & RC show.
But more than just respecting Khabib’s desire to place more focus on his family moving forward, Cormier claimed it only adds to the “special” nature of the former UFC lightweight champion.
“When Khabib walks away from coaching, I think about this — I think about time spent with family and how important it is,” Cormier said. “And Ryan Clark, I think about why you don’t do commentary, because you refuse to miss one of your son’s football games. I think Khabib’s there. He’s at a point in his life where he doesn’t want to miss the important moments. Certain jobs take you away from the important moments. Khabib is a family guy (who) is not willing to give that away anymore. He wants to spend more time with his children, with his wife, with his mother.
“For me, it’s just another instance in which Khabib shows why he’s so special. Because the allure of so many things — the fame, the money — to be able to say… ‘These important moments mean more to me than the money and everything else,’ just shows you who Khabib is,” Cormier continued. “Khabib’s legacy is going to be forever. He coached his cousin Usman to a Bellator championship. He coached Islam to a UFC championship.”
While his career in coaching appears to have been relatively short-lived, Khabib didn’t fail to make an impact in the mentoring role. Perhaps most notably was the success he helped Makhachev achieve.
Having long been touted as the true successor to Khabib’s reign, the 31-year-old Dagestani secured his place on the throne last October by submitting Charles Oliveira at UFC 280.
Do you agree with Daniel Cormier’s take on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s MMA departure?
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