Why Khabib Nurmagomedov never move up to welterweight division? Colby Covington unveils his reason

Colby Covington has put forth a theory to explain why Khabib Nurmagomedov never made the move to the welterweight division, despite being widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters to have graced the octagon. Having made his UFC debut in 2012, Khabib went on to completely dominate the lightweight division until his retirement from the sport in 2020. Despite his immense success in the lower weight class, he chose to never venture beyond it. It is this decision that has prompted Covington to speculate on the reasons behind it.

During his time in the UFC. The Dagestani fighter won the lightweight championship and successfully defended it on three separate occasions.

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s domination of the lightweight division for an extended period led many to believe that he would eventually transition to a higher weight class. Despite this, he retired as the unrivaled lightweight champion. He never made the move to the welterweight division.

Colby Covington spoke to James Lynch about this during a recent interview. Suggesting that Nurmagomedov’s reluctance to move up to the 170lb division was due to his fear of fighting him. 

Khabib Nurmagomedov: The G.O.A.T

“He [Khabib Nurmagomedov] never came to 170 because the man’s [points to himself] here. He doesn’t wanna fight the man, he knew the man that had a great style for him, the guy that was way more well-rounded, stuff his takedowns, being in his face and punching and putting volume on him and doesn’t break under cardio. Like, that’s what I do best, I would’ve walked him down.”


Following Leon Edwards’ successful defense of his welterweight championship against Kamaru Usman at UFC 286. Dana White, the president of UFC, announced that Colby Covington was the top contender for the title. Covington had traveled to London to serve as a backup for the title fight, but his services were not required.

Khabib Nurmagomedov #MMA #UFC Khabib Nurmagomedov #1080P #wallpaper  #hdwallpaper #desktop | Фитнес, Программа тренировок, Смешные фото
Khabib Nurmagomedov

Despite numerous fighters clamoring for a chance to face Edwards, including Nurmagomedov’s protégé Makhachev. Covington dismissed their wrestling abilities and claimed that his top-tier American style would prove too much for them.

The former UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov made history as the first-ever Russian to win a UFC championship, and he achieved another incredible feat by retiring undefeated. He conquered all his opponents from 20th January 2012 to 24th October 2020, securing the UFC lightweight title and successfully defending it in his final bout. As his retirement is closing, Khabib’s stunning winning streak in the UFC spanned more than eight years, which is truly remarkable.

What are your thoughts regarding Khabib’s fear of fighting Colby?  Let us know in the comment section below. 

Sami Haider

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Sami Haider is a UFC/boxing journalist who connects combat sports to pop culture. His deep passion for the UFC started in 2018, triggered by the UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor fight. He is a passionate writer who has a profound love for the sport and the skills that are used in it. Through his work, Sami aspires to connect combat sportsmen and their enthusiastic fans.


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