36-year-old Brazilian boxer Rafael dos Anjos said he would face Khabib, if he defeated Islam Makhachev at the end of October.
“I just heard from the UFC that Islam Makhachev has accepted a bet with me on October 30 in Abu Dhabi. The match lasted five rounds. Khabib has agreed to return when he withdrew his retirement statement to fight me, in case I beat Makhachev – his brother,” Dos Anjos tweeted on July 22.
Makhachev was a close friend and junior loved by Khabib. The 29-year-old Russian boxer is showing impressive form with eight consecutive victories, rising to fifth in the UFC lightweight, two places ahead of next opponent Dos Anjos.
Neither Makhachev, Khabib nor the UFC have yet responded to Rafael’s post. The two boxers faced off in 2014, where Khabib won by referee points. Rafael later won the UFC lightweight title when he defeated American boxer Anthony Pettis in 2015, but lost the title to Eddie Alvarez a year later.
President Dana White has repeatedly invited Khabib to return to the octagon, because he does not want the UFC to lose the golden egg. He also mentioned McGregor as an opportunity for Khabib to get rich when he returns.
Follow CBS Sports, one of the reasons why Dana White is anxious to bring Khabib back to the ring is Covid-19. Because of the pandemic, the UFC cannot hold continuously as before. The habits of the audience also changed. They only really care about big fights, between big name fighters.
On March 19, Khabib announced his departure from the UFC after nine years of association. Previously, he announced his retirement in October 2020 after defeating Gaethje with a neck lock in the second round at UFC 254. The 32-year-old boxer at the time said that he was no longer interested in competing after his father. and coach, Mr. Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov died of Covid-19 infection.
Khabib has competed in MMA since 2008, fought 29 fights and won all of them, including 13 in the UFC. The Russian boxer won the UFC lightweight belt in 2018 when he defeated American opponent Al Iaquinta. He then had three successful title defenses, in duels with Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.
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