Khabib Nurmagomedov has risen to become one of the biggest UFC stars. And despite earning millions for each fight, he insists he is not in the sport for the money. The 32-year-old took home £1.5million ($2m) from his mega-clash with Conor McGregor and picked up £4.6m ($6m) from the bout against Poirier last time out.
With Gaethje seemingly Nurmagomedov’s last big challenge in the lightweight division, many have questioned whether the Russian could soon retire.
“Very good question, honestly – very good question,” Nurmagomedov told MMA Fighting.
“I don’t know. For example, I’m going to finish Justin Gaethje inside the cage on October 24. What else? This is a very good question.
“I love competition. I love to compete with the best fighters in the world. That’s why I am here.
“I’m not in the UFC to make money. I have a lot of business projects outside the UFC, I can make money. Good question. Very good question.”
He added: “I don’t think [retirement after this fight]. We have a couple of options. We’re going to think about this after this fight.
“Dana told me after this fight, he has something special for me. But I told him, please keep this, after the fight we’re going to talk.
“He says he has very big things after this fight for me. We’ll see.”
Gaethje is planning on contributing to his parents’ retirement with the money he earns from UFC 254.
He said: My dad retired a little over a year ago, he worked 37 years in a copper mine.
“My mom, she’s going to retire. This fight starts, the bell rings at the beginning, then I will secure that she’ll retire after this fight. And she’s been working 35 years.”
UFC 254 prize money
Prize money figures for UFC 254 have not yet been confirmed but are due to be released after the event.
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Fighters on the card usually earn a base pay, with bonuses available on the night.
Nurmagomedov, for example, had a guaranteed purse of £4.6m ($6m) for the Poirier bout, but he also received a £30,000 ($40,000) fight week incentive and a £38,000 ($50,000) Performance of the Night bonus.
Gaethje’s guaranteed purse to face Tony Ferguson earlier this year was £268,000 ($350,000).
But he ended up taking home £367,000 ($480,000) thanks to a £38,000 ($50,000) Fight of the Night bonus, £38,000 ($50,000) Performance of the Night bonus and £23,000 ($30,000) fight week incentive.
According to UFC president Dana White, Nurmagomedov would take another step towards proving he is the greatest fighter in the history of the UFC if he beats lightweight rival Gaethje at UFC 254.
“I think if Khabib beats Justin on Saturday, he’s the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world and he’s on his way to ‘GOAT’ status,” said White.
“It’s pretty impressive what this guy has done. He’s one of the biggest stars in the sport.”
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