Former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov reveals he wants to become a FOOTBALLER and says ‘a lot of clubs’ have already offered him contracts – as he opens up on his admiration for Cristiano Ronaldo and being friends with Man City’s billionaire owner
- Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from the UFC back in October last year
- The ex-champion is now focusing on a new career and training to play football
- The Russian MMA star revealed he’s already received ‘a lot’ of contract offers
- He is an avid football fan and admitted Cristiano Ronaldo is his favourite player
Former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has revealed he is considering making a shock move into football and has already received ‘a lot’ of contract offers from clubs.
The MMA star, who retired from fighting as an undefeated champion last year, is an avid football fan and has posted videos showing his skills on the pitch in recent months after announcing that he is ‘in training’ to become a footballer.
Nurmagomedov has rebuffed attempts from UFC president Dana White to return to the octagon and even turned down a $100million (£70m) offer to face Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring to instead focus on his new career move.
Khabib Nurmagomedov has revealed he has received contract offers from football clubs
Speaking during a live Facebook Q&A, the Russian fighting superstar said: ‘A lot of football clubs, they offer me [a contract],’ Nurmagomedov said. ‘But I have to, a little bit, become football shape. Because football shape is a little bit different than MMA [shape].
‘When you have to fight in MMA and you have to play in football, these are two different [things]. But I don’t know [if I’ll play professionally. If some clubs offer me [a deal] and they make me an interesting [offer], I’m going to accept this.’
Nurmagomedov, who was at the Krestovsky Stadium to watch Russia lose their opening Euro 2020 group match against Belgium on Saturday, has spoken about his love for football several times in interviews and revealed that his love for the game stemmed from watching the World Cup in France in 1998.
‘Football for me is like baseball. I watched this all the time when I was growing up, like I remember watching the old Ronaldo, the Brazilian one before Cristiano,’ he said.
The former UFC champion retired from fighting after beating Justin Gaethje in October 2020
‘For me, I think [winning the World Cup is better than being UFC champion] football is better because it has the World Cup and they are putting this on once every four years, so this is very, very big history.
‘The World Cup final, I remember watching my first World Cup final, it was in 1998 in France. And for me it was like the best thing I’ve ever seen in my life, football is on another level.’
The ex-UFC lightweight champion supports Real Madrid but has also spoken of his love for Liverpool and is a huge admirer of the Premier League, having said he planned to come to England so he could go to some football matches after retiring from the UFC.
He revealed that he also likes to watch Manchester United and English champions City and said he is ‘friends’ with the club’s billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour and ‘knows him very well’.
Khabib was at Krestovsky Stadium on Saturday for Russia’s 3-0 loss to Belgium at Euro 2020
The 32-year-old is close pals with Cristiano Ronaldo and admitted that he is his favourite player
Khabib is also a close pal of Cristiano Ronaldo’s and said back in March that they speak to each other ‘almost every day’. Asked if he was his favourite player, he added: ‘I think both Ronaldo’s are my favourite, the old one from Brazil as well.
‘But what Cristiano has done is amazing, in 2004 he was in the final of the Euros and in 2016 he won the Euros. He was six-time Champions League finalist, he won the Spanish League, the Italian league and the English Premier League.
‘And he win five time the golden ball, he’s won a lot of things and I think Cristiano Ronaldo is the best.’
Nurmagomedov has not fought since defeating Justin Gaethje back in October 2020, stating that he wanted to retire after his father and mentor Abdulmanap died months before the fight.
Since walking away from the sport, he has reiterated a number of times that he is happily retired and won’t be persuaded to return to the octagon again despite continued rumours of another possible grudge fight with UFC star Conor McGregor.
Khabib spoke about his admiration for Brazil’s Ronaldo and remembers falling in love with football after watching the World Cup final in 1998
He also revealed that he is close friends with Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour