It was only recently that Daniel Cormier expressed his uncertainty about Khabib Nurmagomedov’s struggling future after the death of his father Abdulmanap.
Then Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC) was booked to defend his easy title against Justin Gaethje (22-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) at UFC 254 on October 24, and many were over the timeline surprised.
Cormier and Nurmagomedov are good friends and teammates of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose. Cormier saw firsthand how close the relationship between the Nurmagomedovs was, as it went far beyond a father and a son. It was also a trainer and a student, and Nurmagomedov, who did not have this presence in a fight, was seen as possibly too much to bare.
Cormier had previously expressed concern about how quickly, if at all, “The Eagle” would climb back into the octagon. The easy title unification struggle is now officially with interim champion Gaethje, and Cormier said it was a welcome surprise that Nurmagomedov would be back at work so soon.
“I was a little nervous at first,”
Cormier has an important fight of his own. He is expected to challenge Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title in an expected trilogy on August 15 at UFC 252. Regardless of the outcome, Cormier has promised to retire and will take on a full-time role as a broadcaster and analyst.
The future for Cormier will be that he’s at the cage and commenting on some of the UFC’s biggest fights. However, the emotion of watching Nurmagomedov compete is very manageable and would also be challenging to remain impartial.
For this reason, Cormier said it was likely that he would not be at the stand for Nurmagomedov against Gaethje at UFC 254.
“I’ll probably resign,” said Cormier.