Khabib Nurmagomedov’s ‘deathly loyalties’ to those around him may be what sees him make his return to UFC. That is according to former Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier.
Khabib hasn’t stepped foot inside the Octagon since retiring from action back in October 2020 following his victory by submission against Justin Gaethje, a victory which helped him retain his Lightweight Championship.
His decision to call it a day, however, hasn’t prevented many fans questioning when, or if, the Russian would ever return.
Cormier, who was posed the same question by Ariel Helwani during their ESPN YouTube show, believes the only thing that may tempt Khabib back is his support for AKA teammate and fellow Russian Islam Makhachev.
Although appearing coy about whether or not he has spoken directly to Khabib regarding any potential return, Cormier predicts he may feel obliged to have the back of his training partner, who is expected to challenge for a championship in the near future.
“You know what I think, man… you know what I think might make Khabib fight. Khabib is like, deathly loyal. If he’s telling his mum he won’t fight, he won’t fight,” said Cormier when asked by Helwani if there’s any chance of a Khabib comeback.
“Khabib and a lot of people believe that Islam Makhachev will really enter into this conversation as soon as he’s done with Drew Dober. I believe that, with every part of me. If Islam Makhachev goes to a fight and he becomes the man and someone gets him, and then starts to call for Khabib, THAT might be what gets Khabib back. That’s his brother.
“Say a guy gets Islam as Islam becomes a man, Khabib might be like, ‘I gotta get this one back for my dude’. That might be what gets him back.”
All eyes will no doubt be on the upcoming bout between Makhachev and Dober on March 6 following Cormier’s comments. A Makhachev victory may yet mean he’s on the way to title glory, but a loss means we may be one step closer to a Khabib return who may seek redemption for his teammate, despite his mum’s best wishes!