Nurmagomedov retired from fighting after defending his 155lb belt for the last time against Justin Gaethje in 2020. The Russian promised his mother that he wouldn’t fight again after his father and long-time trainer Abdulmanap passed away after complications with Covid-19.
Despite White’s best efforts to convince Nurmagomedov to fight on – and set up a rematch with Conor McGregor – the Russian called it quits and vacated his lightweight title last March. Oliveira went to become champion by knocking out Michael Chandler at UFC 262.
UFC newcomer Natan Levy has now told White he should order Nurmagomedov back to fight Oliveira, telling Freak MMA : “If I was a matchmaker, I’d make Khabib come back from retirement to fight Charles.”
Should Khabib Nurmagomedov come out of retirement? Let us know in the comments section below
Levy’s comment comes after Oliveira was forced to vacate the lightweight belt after missing weight for his title defence against Gaethje at UFC 274. But a fight between Nurmagomedov and Oliveira is unlikely to happen as the Russian’s teammate Islam Makhachev has been calling for his shot against ‘Do Bronx’.
Nurmagomedov has insisted Makhachev must for the lightweight belt next and predicts he will beat Oliviera in less than three rounds. Makhachev is following in Nurmagomedov’s footsteps at 155lb, going unbeaten in his last 10 fights. The No.4 ranked Russian was due to fight top contender Beneil Dariush in February, but the fight was cancelled.
UFC boss White said he still wants Makhachev to fight Dariush, but wouldn’t rule out the Russian fighting Oliveira for the vacant belt after Joe Rogan has pressed him to make the fight. Oliveira thinks the promotion needs to rebook Makhachev against Dariush to decide the next title challenger.
“I think the reality is, Makhachev has to fight Dariush first,” Oliveira told Trocacao Franca. “They both have to fight and then we’ll see who we’re fighting or not. Makhachev is super tough and deserves all the respect in the world. Dariush is also super tough and has a great team.”
Makhachev has accused Oliveira of being “scared” to fight him after suggesting the Russian should fight Dariush to decide the next title challenger. He also mocked Oliveira for calling out Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz to fight on the same night. Nurmagomedov has ruled out any chance of him returning to the sport, with the former UFC champion even turning down a $100m payday to fight Floyd Mayweather last year.