According to the translation of Nurmagomedov in the video, the lightweight champ said he’d “achieved almost everything in this sport” and didn’t have the drive that justified breaking a promise he made to his mother after his most recent fight, a submission win over Justin Gathje that unified the lightweight title and extended his unbeaten streak to 29 fights.
“I know that there are many fighters who would like to earn money, who strive for something,” he said. “What should I do? A lot of people don’t want to understand my side. I don’t see that yet.”
With business in Abu Dhabi, Nurmagomedov’s meeting with White was highly anticipated. The UFC president predicted the champ would make a return for his 30th fight. But afterward, the promoter stopped short of confirming such a move, saying it depended on what other top lightweights did.
Nurmagomedov said he continues to train MMA, but his work is for personal pleasure and not professional. Asked about the promise he made to his mother not to compete after UFC 254, which followed the death of his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov from complications of COVID-19, he indicated he takes very seriously what he said.
“My mother is the most precious thing I have left,” he said. “Come on, you won’t push me to do things that will disappoint my mother.”
Nurmagomedov didn’t appear to declare he would never fight again. For the near future, though, he said he has no “plans for the UFC in the near future.” And to those who might pressure him otherwise, he asked to consider the path that led him to his current stance.
“I have left it behind,” he said. “Don’t torment me, let me enjoy what I have for today. And just so you know, I’ve sacrificed a lot to get to this level.”
Check out the full interview below.