Luke Rockhold: Khabib Nurmagomedov wants to coach me, ‘be a big part of my comeback’

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Khabib Nurmagomedov has offered Luke Rockhold a helping hand ahead of his return.

Rockhold (16-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) says the recently retired Nurmagomedov reached out to him, wanting to help coach him for his comeback to the octagon. The pair spent years training under the tutelage of head coach Javier Mendez at American Kickboxing Academy and “The Eagle” now is looking to embark on a new chapter in his career.

“He’s assuming this coaching role now,” Rockhold told TMZ. “He’s like, ‘You can’t be the master. You can’t be the boss. I have to coach you.’ He’s going off on me, wanting to coach now. He wants to be a big part of my comeback. It’s pretty funny to see Khabib assume this role. He’s going for ‘Coach of the Year.’ That’s what he wants – he wants to be the next great thing and follow in his dad’s footsteps. That’s what his dad always did.”

Rockhold couldn’t help but laugh, telling Nurmagomedov, “We’ll see.” The former UFC middleweight champion has recently been splitting his time between Sanford MMA in Florida and RVCA Training Center in California as he gears up for his first fight since July 2019.

“I think realistically, it’s summer time – late summer return,” Rockhold said of his return. “I’ve got to get my body right. My shoulder’s been an ongoing issue, but it’s finally coming around and getting to a point where I have confidence in it to let it go. I’m pressing to get in shape and it feels good to be back in the gym – finally getting a little fire back.”

After a failed stint at light heavyweight in which he was stopped by current champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 239, Rockhold will be returning to his original home at middleweight.

“I believe ’85 is my calling,” Rockhold said. “I’m about 205 pounds right now, and I’m just naturally there. It wasn’t really me to bulk up. I was lifting weights and doing my thing to get up to 205, and I could barely hold 215, 220 at best. I feel good. This is my championship weight. This is where I’ve done all my damage, and I like the route to victory, what’s ahead of me, so I’m ready to go.”


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