Sean O’Malley believes Khabib Nurmagomedov might have retired due to the threat presented by Charles Oliveira.

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s legacy at lightweight

Former UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov achieved a feat unparalleled in the sport of mixed martial arts after his most recent outing against Justin Gaethje in October 2020. In what turned out to be his final walk to the octagon, ‘The Eagle’ announced his retirement with an unblemished record of 29-0.

Nurmagomedov is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes to set foot inside the cage and arguably the best ever at 155 lbs. After winning the title at UFC 223, the legendary Dagestani fighter would go on to defend it three times before hanging up the gloves. His legacy is solidified as the gold standard to compare every following champion with.

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Charles Oliveira, the most recent lightweight champion and the current top contender, has looked sensational in his 11-fight win streak with title fight victories over Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, and Gaethje. With a thrilling reign in the division, Oliveira is looked at by many as the man who could potentially beat Nurmagomedov, except the man himself.

Sean O’Malley believes Charles Oliveira can beat Khabib Nurmagomedov

In an interview with Canal Encarada, Sean O’Malley shared his thoughts on a potential matchup between Oliveira and Nurmagomedov, if he comes out of retirement. There have been talks of coaching a season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite Tony Ferguson but nothing has been officially announced yet.

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‘Sugar’ Sean believes that Oliveira will likely come out on top of that contest and even wondered whether the Brazilian’s resurgence might have factored into Nurmagomedov’s retirement.

“That’s the one interesting fight that I would like to see if Khabib came back in the division,” O’Malley said. “It would be Charles. Everyone else I think Khabib kind of mauls. I think Charles is the only one that can really give Khabib problems and, who knows, maybe that’s why Khabib stepped away.

“Maybe he saw, ‘I don’t want that guy.’ Who knows, but yeah, that’s one fight that I would be interested in seeing Khabib come back for. It would be a massive fight.”

Oliveira was forced to vacate his title after coming in half a pound overweight in his latest fight at UFC 274. O’Malley says that ‘Do Bronx’ is still the real champ and dismissed the idea of anything else based on his performances.

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“Charles is the champ and everyone knows it,” O’Malley said. “That’s just it. I don’t think anybody looks at him as not being the champ. I don’t think you can find one person that thinks he’s not the champ or wouldn’t call him the champ.

“I hope he got his pay-per-view money, I hope he is making the championship money going into the next fight. Everyone’s got to look at him as the champ, the fight’s he’s been doing, the performances he’s been putting on. Charles Oliveira’s the champ and everyone knows it.” (h/t MMA Fighting)