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There’s one scenario that could entice Khabib Nurmagomedov back to MMA, according to a UFC analyst

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov could return to the UFC Octagon if Islam Makhachev ever lost.
  • That’s according to UFC commentator Jon Anik, who said Khabib may want to seek revenge for Islam.

LAS VEGAS — Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from pro MMA fighting in 2020 and was enshrined Thursday into the UFC’s Hall of Fame after a red carpet event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

But, according to UFC commentator and MMA analyst Jon Anik, there is one potential scenario in which the 29-0 ground-and-pound specialist could return to the Octagon for a 30th fight.

“If somebody were to beat Islam Makhachev, maybe that would revitalize his appetite for competition,” Anik told Insider.

Makhachev, a lightweight, competes in Nurmagomedov’s old division and is considered one of the top-tier fighters in that weight class.

There's one scenario that could entice Khabib Nurmagomedov back to MMA, according to a UFC analyst

© Photo by Getty ImagesThere’s one scenario that could entice Khabib Nurmagomedov back to MMA, according to a UFC analyst

Makhachev, also from Dagestan, is ranked No.4 at 155-pounds and is closing in on a UFC title shot.

The UFC lightweight championship is currently vacant after the former king Charles Oliveira lost his belt on the scales prior to his first-round submission win over Justin Gaethje.

If Makhachev were to lose against someone like Oliveira — or another prominent contender like Gaethje, Michael Chandler, or Dustin Poirier — Nurmagomedov may be incentivized to come out of retirement, Anik said.

Nurmagomedov’s post-fight career will likely satisfy him, though

Anik went on to say that the 33-year-old’s desire to compete could come from his ownership of MMA firm Eagle Fighting Championship, which has been making in-roads in the US under his direction, and his cornering and coaching of fighters like Makhachev, Umar Nurmagomedov, and Usman Nurmagomedov.

There's one scenario that could entice Khabib Nurmagomedov back to MMA, according to a UFC analyst

© Photo by Getty ImagesThere’s one scenario that could entice Khabib Nurmagomedov back to MMA, according to a UFC analyst

“I think he’s able to scratch that itch as a coach right now, and as a mentor,” Anik told us.

“His first priority is to try to corner one of those guys to an undisputed UFC championship, but he could do whatever he wants.

“I mean, that guy moves every needle and ticks every box. He’s a superstar. He resonates with people all over the world … He just drips legendary status.

“Being backstage with him today, you just get the sense that you’re in the presence of a truly great man,” Anik continued. “And I think as humble as he is, he’s even more humbled by this honor tonight.”

Ultimate fighting superstar Khabib is the sport’s ultimate success story

There's one scenario that could entice Khabib Nurmagomedov back to MMA, according to a UFC analyst

© Photo by Getty ImagesThere’s one scenario that could entice Khabib Nurmagomedov back to MMA, according to a UFC analyst

In combat sports — both MMA and boxing — we often see fighters take one too many fights. Sometimes, we see them take far too many.

Athletes can leave these sports having absorbed too much damage.

Nurmagomedov, though, left ultimate fighting as an undefeated and undisputed lightweight champion, as a millionaire celebrity, and with his faculties in tact.

Considering his Hall of Fame status, Insider asked Anik whether Nurmagomedov is MMA’s ultimate success story.

“I think so,” said Anik. “I mean, I think oftentimes no matter what your walk of life is, it’s not a terrible thing to leave people wanting more.

“He went out on his own terms as arguably the greatest of all time.”

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