Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, recently announced that he would step away from mixed martial arts (MMA) altogether, meaning he would no longer be coaching his team that comprises several of his close friends and family members.
“The Eagle” enjoyed a good and prosperous run as coach and trainer, helping the likes of UFC’s Islam Makhachev and Bellator’s Usman Nurmagomedov reach championship gold. For the undefeated (29-0) ex-champion, however, spending time with his family took precedence, and rightfully so, according to Fedor Emelianenko.
“This is Khabib’s decision,” Emelianenko said during Bellator 290’s pre-fight press conference (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “That’s his choice. We spend so much time outside of our families because of the sport in [training] camps, sometimes you call it quits, and that’s it, especially when you have young kids and they’re waiting for you.”
Ahead of his own retirement fight against Heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader, at Bellator 290 tonight (Sat., Feb. 4, 2023), Emelianeko will embark on a new non-fighting life. And regardless of what he decides to do, he will still be a part of MMA in some capacity helping his team.
“Of course, I’ll be involved still because I have my team,” Fedor said. “These guys are like family to me. No matter what’s going to happen, I’ll be next to them all the time. I will try to do my best and help them in any way I can. All my life I was in sport. The sport is part of my life.”
Fedor has an impressive stable of fighters, too, training the likes of current Light Heavyweight champion, Vadim Nemkov, ex-interim Heavyweight champion Valentin Moldavsky, and Anatoly Tokov, who faces Johnny Eblen for the Middleweight title in Bellator 290’s co-main event.
“No matter what I’m going to do, I’m still going to share my experience, all my knowledge,” he said. “No matter what I’m going to do, I’m going to have different hobbies, whatever is going to be happening, no matter what I’m still going to be with my team because the sport is in my blood.”
One thing he won’t do, however, is return to fighting after calling it quits a second time.
Like right now, I watch as MMA stars are competing in boxing — I did think about it like if I could do it as they do or not, I had those thoughts,” he reiterated. “But, I want to be done with it — completely.
“This is my last fight and all I think of is with this fight with the champion of Bellator,” Fedor concluded. “I want to have this fight with the champion of Bellator, Ryan Bader, and be done.”
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