It isn’t uncommon that when professional fighters state they plan to retire that they later come back for another few fights – so common in fact that when the undefeated champion announced his retirement following his very dominant win over Justin Gaethje, many believed that he would change his statement just a few days later, which never came. But a recent interview with UFC boss could signal change as the champ has stated he may be tempted to come back, under certain conditions.
The initial reasons for the retirement were understandable enough – his father and coach had been in the corner for each of his fights in the UFC, but following the tragic loss of his father recently, Khabib had stated in his retirement speech that he had promised his mother he would retire. But with a professional record of 29-0, there may certainly be some desire to round it out at an even 30 or even push it a little higher, particularly as Khabib doesn’t seem to have faced any difficult challenge in his thirteen fights with the promotion – and at just 32 years of age, very much still in his prime age to continue his combat sports career.
The reason given for the interest in the return? Two big fights at lightweight are set to happen this year with the bigger being between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. Whilst both fighters have already been dealt a loss by Khabib, and Poirier having lost to Conor in a previous fight, it would seem the writing is already on the wall for a heated rematch between Khabib and Conor – but Poirier has evolved as a fighter and so may still be in with a shot, and as both are in the top 5 lightweight rankings, both seem the most viable choice. It does bring questions on if a second fight between Khabib and Conor could happen though, given how heated the first was as it led to a brawl after the fight with fights between both teams – and it would also be true that Khabib would remain the betting favourite as sites such as www.bettingsites.ng have become popular with the growth of combat sports fandom in the region – nobody wants a boring fight if it’s high profile and has a lot of punter interest, but that’s exactly what this fight could be.
With that being said, all of this speculation remains up in the air – the interview had only suggested that if either of the big upcoming lightweight fights had shown something phenomenal would he be interested in a return, which would require some huge performances which may not be the most likely – many still expect Khabib will give up the belt and completely retire, and time will tell as the fights draw closer.