Streaking UFC bantamweight contender, Sean O’Malley has floated an idea that former undisputed lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov may have retired from professional mixed martial arts due to the looming threat presented by his fellow former undisputed division kingpin, Charles Oliveira.
O’Malley, the current #13 ranked bantamweight contender, is set to return to the Octagon next weekend during International Fight Week at UFC 276 – drawing division staple, Brazilian veteran, Pedro Munhoz.
As for Nurmagomedov, the undefeated Dagestan native called time on his professional mixed martial arts career back in October 2020 after a successful title unification win against Justin Gaethje – citing the passing of his father, Abdulmanap as the reason for his immediate walk away from the sport.
For Oliveira, the Brazilian, who is currently riding a division-best, 11-fight undefeated run, clinched the lightweight title vacated by Nurmagomedov back in May of last year with a second round knockout win against Michael Chandler.
The Sao Paulo grappler would then defeat common-foe, Dustin Poirier in December to successfully defend the undisputed crown, however, was stripped of the title to a weight miss before a first round rear-naked choke win against the above mentioned, Gaethje last month at UFC 274.
Sean O’Malley claims Charles Oliveira would cause Khabib Nurmagomedov problems
Sharing his thoughts on the emergence of Oliveira and the retiring of Nurmagomedov, O’Malley floated the idea that the latter may have hung up his gloves upon viewing the rise of Brazilian ace, Oliveira.
“That’s the one interesting fight that I would like to see if Khabib (Nurmagomedov) came back in the division (for),” Sean O’Malley said of Khabib x Oliveira during a recent interview with Canal Encarada. “It would be Charles (Oliveira). Everyone else I think Khabib kind of mauls. I think Charles is the only one that can really give Khabib problems, and, who knows, maybe that’s why Khabib stepped away.”
“Maybe he (Khabib Nurmagomedov) saw, ‘I don’t want that guy (Charles Oliveira),’” Sean O’Malley speculated. “Who knows, but yeah, that’s one fight that I would be interested in seeing Khabib come back for. It would be a massive fight. (Transcribed by MMA Fighting)
Expected to return to the Octagon before the close of 2022 in another vacant lightweight title fight, Oliveira has been continually linked with a title offing against Khabib’s protégé, the surging Islam Makhachev – with the two floated for a potential outing at UFC 281 in Abu Dhabi, UAE at an October pay-per-view event.