Khabib Nurmagomedov ‘had enough’ of USADA says Javier Mendez

By Zain Bando - July 4, 2023

After two years of speculation, the truth is finally out about why Khabib Nurmagomedov, the former UFC lightweight champion from 2018-2021, retired from the sport of MMA.


Khabib Nurmagomedov left the UFC early on in 2021 after Dustin Poirier exacted revenge on Conor McGregor. There were hints that he might return if a McGregor rematch materialized, as UFC president Dana White hinted at the possibility in a ’Dana White: Lookin’ For a Fight’ episode a week ahead of McGregor-Poirier 2. Obviously, it never did.

Newer information has come to light about Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement and it’s nothing anyone would remotely guess right away.

According to Javier Mendez, a long-time staple of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif. and home to many UFC champions, he revealed in an interview with Grosvenor Sport that White did all he could to keep Nurmagomedov around the lightweight division.

“Dana White didn’t remove Khabib from the testing pool after he retired because he still hoped Khabib would fight again, but then Khabib had enough of being tested,” Mendez said.

Khabib Nurmagomedov went on to have a conversation with White, who has been president of the UFC for 22 years. Talks quickly went the opposite direction.

“So, he told Dana he didn’t want to test anymore and that he’s not coming back. He was roughly tested for about eight months before he had enough,” Mendez added.

The nail in the coffin came after McGregor, who has won one fight since becoming double-champion in 2016, was KO’ed by the Louisianan in Abu Dhabi. With Nurmagomedov’s future uncertain, as well as the status of the lightweight division, the promotion had to move in a different direction entirely.

Eventually, the lightweight division did move forward after Charles Oliveira defeated Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje before eventually falling by submission to the current champion, Islam Makachev.

As for Nurmagomedov, he retired an unblemished 29-0.

What are your thoughts on Nurmagomedov’s reason for retirement? Let us know, Penn Nation!


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