Dubai: It appears that Khabib Nurmagomedov is no different to the rest of the MMA bandwagon as he likes the sound of money - just as much as much he wallops in the brutal cacophony from smashing opponents’ faces.
The undefeated UFC champion, who has held the lightweight title since April 2018 with 29 wins and no losses, returned from the sport following his victory over Justin Gaethje in October.
The victory was followed by some seriously emotional scenes in the Octagon when the 32-year-old Dagestan fighter broke down in tears and paid tribute to his late father and seminal coach, Abdulmanap, who passed away in July this year.
He would then make the announcement that nobody wanted to hear, except his rivals, and that he was quitting the sport to honour his grieving mother’s wish. “My mother didn’t want me to fight without father,” he said after having submitted Geithner in the second round of their mega fight with a trademark triangle choke. “I promised her it was going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this.
“It was my last fight here.”
However, less than two months down the line, there is talk that Khabib is eyeing a comeback to the Octagon provided the price is right.
What happed to all those dramatic post-fight scenes that millions around the world watched around the world, some with tears welling in their eyes, as well.
Was it for real or just theatre? I don’t wish to chastise Khabib now that he has a change of heart. They all do, the Conor McGregors, the Floyd Mayweathers, the Manny Pacquiaos. So why not join the gang. After all, money is what makes the world go around.
And what is the fight fee that he’s asking UFC boss Dana White to lay out to make him return? A mere $100 million, a fortune to many, but perhaps not to the cash-rich UFC, the world’s richest and most successful mixed-martial arts promotion the world has ever seen.
“It’s something that will follow me until the end of my life,” Khabib said in his defense, when speaking to the Spanish publication Marca in an exclusive interview.
In the brutal world of combat sport, there are obviously no such thing as ethics or principle. It’s a dog-eat-dog world where only the strongest survive.
Money rules more than the flying fists or Superman kicks. It’s the be all and end all, just as it is in the case of Khabib, who is looking for an retirement bonus that he says will set him up for life.
As if he is not already flush with earnings from 29 wins, most of them in the five-figure mark. But it’s the call he wants to make despite contradicting himself. “If you decide to finish, finish,” he told Marca.
Should Dana White agree to the terms and conditions laid down by the UFC greatest champion, then Khabib also wants to pick his own opponent and it won’t be a rematch against Conor McGregor or Dustin Poirier for that matter.
‘‘I’m not interested. I beat them both easily,” he told Marc.
Georges St. Pierre? A fight between two of MMA’s greatest grapplers has the potential to be the superfight of the century. Possibly one that will smash PPV records and go a long way into helping the economics for King Khabib’s return to the Octagon.