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Khabib Nurmagomedov 'could make shock UFC return' as 'coach says he is in training'

Khabib Nurmagomedov 'could make shock UFC return' as 'coach says he is in training'

Could Khabib return?

Khabib Nurmagomedov could make a surprise return to UFC, according to former MMA fighter Chael Sonnen.

The 35-year-old hasn't fought inside the Octagon for over three years, having announced his retirement following victory over Justin Gaethje.

He stated that he felt he could not continue fighting after his father passed away.

Khabib, the longest-reigning UFC Lightweight Champion in history, moved into training and promoting after stepping away from MMA.

In November, the Russian revealed to fellow UFC icon Daniel Cormier that he had turned down offers of up to $40 million from Dana White to return to the Octagon for one more fight, and added: "If I decide [on retirement], I decide, it's finished. I leave this alone.

"I'm happy and I never regret my decision, never."

But another retired MMA fighter, Chael Sonnen, has theorised on his YouTube channel that a potential comeback for Khabib may be on the cards.

He explained: "Coach Javier Mendez, owner and leader of the American Kickboxing Academy, came out in an interview and said that Khabib is back training with me.

"He said, 'Khabib always goes to practice, but he only trains with me when he's getting ready for a fight'. That is all I know."

The interview that Sonnen could be referring to has circulated around social media in recent days, and features a claim being made that Khabib is in training.

However, the clip is undated - meaning it is unclear as to whether it is referencing an impending return for the Russian fighter, or whether he is training for something else entirely.

Sonnen also brought up the possibility of Khabib potentially being the next opponent of Leon Edwards, after the British fighter defended his Welterweight Championship against Colby Covington at UFC 296.

He added: "There is some reason that Leon versus Belal [Muhammad] did not get made.

"It was expected and it was planned. Something became available.

"This is nothing more than a rumor, but it's a rumor that came from coach Mendez, who's training him. Who says, 'I don't train him unless it's for a fight'. It's fascinating.

"There is a reason. Khabib is not fighting at 155 pounds ever again and Dana [White]'s not putting on UFC 300 without a title on top of the bill."

UFC 300 takes place on April 13 - shortly after the ending of Ramadan.

Khabib has spoken in the past about how it is 'very dangerous' to fight during the holy month, meaning the likelihood of him returning to face Edwards appears slim, at best.

But with Edwards' title fight yet to be confirmed, we don't officially know anything until the announcement gets made.

Mendez, though, posted a cryptic message on his Instagram amid social media hype, which suggested Khabib will remain out of the Octagon.

He captioned a picture of Khabib holding the belt with the phrase: "Fathers Plan = Loyalty #AlwaysAndForeverRemembered".

Featured Image Credit: Getty / Instagram

Topics: Khabib Nurmagomedov, UFC, Leon Edwards