‘As Humble as Khabib Want to Say He Is, He’s Got an Ego Too’- Kevin Lee Details a Scenario Where the UFC Can Lure Khabib Nurmagomedov Back to Competition

Published 12/30/2021, 12:01 AM EST
MAKHACHKALA, RUSSIA – OCTOBER 27, 2020: UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is welcomed at a city airport. Nurmagomedov defeated American mixed martial artist Justin Gaethje in the second round at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi on October 24, 2020, and then announced his retirement after 29 victories and no losses in his career. Press Office of the Head of the Republic of Dagestan/TASS THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Photo by Press Office of the Head of the TASS via Getty Images)


Former UFC lightweight fighter Kevin Lee has been in the headlines after his surprising departure from the UFC’s roster. Weeks later, he found his way into Khabib Nurmagomedov’s MMA promotion, Eagle FC, and has his sights set on becoming the new 165-pound divisional champion.

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During the sit-down style interview with ‘The Schmo’ and Helen Yee, Kevin Lee talked about one possible way the UFC could wrangle Khabib Nurmagomedov back.

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According to Lee, the UFC is pushing Khamzat Chimaev aggressively in order to cajole Nurmagomedov to return. Lee believes that Nurmagomedov’s competitive spirit will be ignited once he sees a fellow Russian become the biggest star in the UFC.

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“The Khamzat push is to kind of make up for the gap that Khabib had. I think if they feel he can get bigger than Khabib, that they may be able to kind of play with Khabib’s ego a little. As humble as Khabib want to say he is, he’s got an ego too.”

“I think if somebody’s to be looked at as above him in his own community, they maybe he might make that comeback, and then they’ll make a whole lot of money off him.”

“I think that’s probably the push why Khamzat. He’s exciting too, he talks some sh*t. He does his thing. He put on a great performance that last fight.”

Will Khabib Nurmagomedov ever fight in the UFC again?

‘The Eagle’ retired from the UFC back in October 2020 at UFC 254 after securing a win over Justin Gaethje. Fans felt like they wanted to see more out of Khabib Nurmagomedov as he was seemingly just getting started as a dominant champion.

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It’s largely believed that Khabib Nurmagomedov has set aside the gloves for good. However, Kevin Lee believes the UFC is relying on ‘Borz’ to lure ‘The Eagle’ back.

ROCHESTER, NY – MAY 18: Kevin Lee stands in the ring before a welterweight bout against Rafael Dos Anjos at Blue Cross Arena on May 18, 2019 in Rochester, New York. Dos Anjos defeats Lee by submission during the third round. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Khabib is a family man and had promised his mother that he would not fight anymore without his father by his side.

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Hence, if Khabib Nurmagomedov’s sentiments are to be believed, he is well and truly done with the UFC. However, as Nurmagomedov is known to have a tenacious competitive spirit, there might be some validity to Kevin Lee’s theory.

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Darryl Pinto

2133 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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