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UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov is reportedly set to return to the octagon and face former opponent Rafael dos Anjos.
Widely considered one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, Nurmagomedov retired from MMA competition following his victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October last year.
Following the victory, Nurmagomedov broke down in tears in the centre of the octagon over the recent death of his father and coach, Abdulmanap.
Shortly after, the Eagle announced in front of a stunned Abu Dhabi crowd that the fight would be his last in the UFC and that he was retiring was MMA.
Despite UFC president Dana White attempting for months to persuade Nurmagomedov to compete one last time, in March White accepted his decision and Nurmagomedov officially vacated the UFC lightweight title.
Since, Nurmagomedov has moved into coaching and, so far, has been hugely successful.
The Eagle was most recently in the corner for Islam Makhachev's dominant victory over Thiago Moises last weekend and has also coached family members Usman and Umar Nurmagomedov.
However, in what appears to be a shocking U-turn from the Russian, Nurmagomedov has reportedly agreed to come out of retirement, but only on one condition.
Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos took to Twitter yesterday and stated that he had agreed to face Makhachev, one of Nurmagomedov’s close friends and training partners.
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The Brazilian went on to claim that if he defeats Makhachev, then Nurmagomedov will come out of retirement to “avenge his brother’s loss.”
“I just heard back from the UFC that Islam [Makhachev] accepted to fight me October 30 5 rounds in Abu Dhabi,” dos Anjos told fans.
“Khabib agreed to come out of retirement to avenge his brother’s loss after that.”
Since posting the tweet yesterday, dos Anjos’ claims have been widely mocked by MMA fans and called “baseless” by Ali Abdelaziz, Nurmagomedov’s manager.
In particular, fans were quick to point out that dos Anjos and Nurmagomedov had fought several years before and while the Eagle was relatively early in his UFC career, he dominated the Brazilian to win a comfortable decision.
In the years following the bout, Dos Anjos would go on to become UFC lightweight champion, defeating Anthony Pettis to win the title.
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Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov was out of action for two years following the bout after suffering a series of serious knee injuries.
Of course, even if Nurmagomedov had agreed to return to the octagon, there is also no guarantee that dos Anjos would defeat Makhachev to set up the rematch.
While Makhachev is undefeated in eight fights and has only lost once in his professional career, dos Anjos has won just two of his last six bouts and would likely enter the clash as a sizeable underdog.
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- Khabib Nurmagomedov
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