American Kickboxing Academy head coach, Javier Mendez, says Khabib Nurmagomedov “wants to fight again” less than one year after retiring from MMA.

‘The Eagle’ retired from the sport immediately after putting Justin Gaethje to sleep in the second round of their lightweight unification fight at UFC 254 in October 2020.

Nurmagomedov’s long-time coach says the undefeated Russian wants to return to the Octagon but won’t until his mother gives him her blessing to do so. The 32-year-old recently messaged Mendez “send me location” suggesting he could return to the sport.

“I guess you could say he wants to fight again – but absolutely not because his mother would have to give him permission before any of that,” Mendez said to Betway Insider. “I mean, he misses training, he misses coaching. 

“I took it as he misses being around me and coaching. Our relationship is more than fighting, that goes beyond fighting,” Mendez added. “It’s not a relationship like: ‘Okay I’m done with my career, you know, my coach and I were just distant friends.’ No. We’re family, we grew with each other. They’re family to me and we’ll be in each other’s lives for the rest of our lives.”

Mendez believes there is a time limit on any Nurmagomedov comeback, but the AKA coach refuses to bet against his student returning to the sport.

“I can say this comfortably, that after two years out of the octagon, there will definitely be no comeback,” Mendez stated. “Before that, when he’s feeling young and he’s in his prime, I’m gonna say I don’t know. 

“I’d definitely say that when he’s past his prime, definitely not because he’s not going to compete when he’s not able to compete. But I can honestly say that if he’s still in his prime, there’s always the possibility that he and his mother could talk. I can say that. 

“I wouldn’t bet against it, but I know there is a possible situation that I could see. If there was something that would bring him back, it’s him still being in his prime and him and his mother talking.”

Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov will return to MMA?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.