UFC lightweight ruler Khabib Nurmagomedov is targeting a 30-0 record before calling time on his career and wants his final title defense to be in Moscow, the fighter’s father and trainer has indicated.
Nurmagomedov, 30, returned to the octagon to defeat interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier in a dominant performance at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi at the weekend, extending his unbeaten record to 28-0.
And now the fighter’s father and trainer, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, says that his son would be content to retire with an unblemished 30-0 slate, ideally holding his final title defense in Moscow.
“For Khabib, 30-0 is enough,” Abdulmanap told Russian news agency TASS.
“Regarding his last fight, then of course, we would like his final title defense to be in Moscow,” he added.
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov cornered his son on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi, where ‘The Eagle’ claimed a dominant third-round submission victory over US fighter Poirier.
There was no sign of rust from Khabib despite an 11-month absence from the cage, following the suspension he was handed for the brawl that marred his victory over Conor McGregor in Las Vegas last October.
All indications are that next up for Nurmagomedov will be longtime lightweight rival Tony Ferguson. The pair have previously been scheduled to fight on no fewer than four occasions, only for injury or illness to scupper the bout each time.
Nurmagomedov said before his meeting with Poirier that Ferguson – who is on a 12-fight win streak – was the logical next opponent for him. The bout would also be a firm favorite for MMA fans.
Beyond that, Nurmagomedov has frequently expressed his desire to face 38-year-old Canadian legend Georges St-Pierre, the former UFC welterweight and middleweight king.
Despite the apparent weight discrepancy both fighters have indicated they would be willing to make the fight work, potentially at a catchweight.
Nurmagomedov has previously described that bout as essential for securing his “legacy” in the sport.
One man seemingly itching for a Moscow showdown with Nurmagomedov is Conor McGregor, who implored UFC bosses to book his rematch in the Russian capital following the Dagestani grappler’s UFC 242 victory.
After he beat McGregor, Nurmagomedov floated the idea of a crossover bout with boxing legend Floyd Mayweater Jr. in Moscow, potentially in front of 80,000 fans at Luzhniki Stadium.
While that didn’t materialize, should Nurmagomedov ever fight in the Russian capital, it would surely be expected to draw crowds of around that number regardless of the opponent.
Whichever way ‘The Eagle’ heads next, the potential paths are intriguing.