After his impressive second-round submission win vs Justin Gaethje back in October 2020, Khabib Nurmagomedov decided to leave his gloves in the Octagon and call it a day.
With a record of 29-0 he remained undefeated throughout his Mixed Martial Arts career, finishing his career in the UFC as the Champion of the lightweight division.
Despite his retirement at the back end of 2020, Khabib can still be seen at most UFC events.
Whether that be as Dana White’s special guest or, more regularly, as a coach to one of his fellow Dagestani fighters.
These fighters include lightweight contender Islam Makachev, as well as Khabib’s cousins Umar and Abubakar Nurmagomedov who fight at bantamweight and welterweight respectively.
Perhaps part due to his regular appearances at major UFC events, but also due to his somewhat unrivalled legacy, fans and fighters alike are always wondering whether Khabib will step back into the octagon and push for that 30th win on his record.
It appeared Khabib had hung up his gloves due to the tragic death of his father. Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was the man who got Khabib, as well as his cousins and close friends, into wrestling and MMA from a very young age.
Turning their basement into a gym of sorts and using bears as wrestling partners, there’s no wonder Khabib and co are excelling in their MMA careers and Abdulmanap forged the way for them.
Because of his father’s death, it appeared Khabib was intent on sticking by his decision and couldn’t be swayed.
However, with the progress of close friend Islam Makachev, as well as the potential talk of a Conor McGregor return, fans are beginning to believe it might be time for Khabib’s return.
But it’s not just this that is exciting fans of the sport. Khabib recently posted this cryptic Instagram photo.
Showing him on the canvas of the Octagon, captioned only with the eyes emoji, fans are reading into this as a potential tease for his return.
One fan commented: “Yo don’t get us excited Khabib lol”, while others tweeted more simply: “comeback?!”.
Alongside many goat emojis, one fan commented: “Welterweight Nurmagomedov”, predicting Khabib’s return may be a weight class higher than before; owing perhaps to his slightly larger build these days.
UFC 272 saw Khabib sat next to current Welterweight champion and pound-4-pound best fighter in the world Kamaru Usman.
A night in which Khabib was inducted in the illustrious UFC Hall of Fame, could we see him face off against Usman at some point in the near future?