Russia's Nurmagomedev to force McGregor to retire from Mixed Martial Arts?

Author: Rosalind K. Amoh
Conor McGregor faces a stern test on his return to the MMA in October

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) poster boy, Conor McGregor could be forced to retire from the sport  by  Khabib Nurmagomedov if he loses his eagerly-anticipated comeback fight against the Russian in Las Vegas on October 6.

Conor McGregor was striped off his MMA title for lack of action for almost two years

McGregor will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon after almost two years - in the main event of UFC 229, which takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and it will be against a fighter who succeeded the Irish when he went on break,  Nurmagomedov, who fights in the lightweight division.

McGregor, 30, hasn't set foot inside the Octagon since claiming the lightweight title in the main event of UFC 205, where he defeated Eddie Alvarez to become the promotion's first simultaneous two-weight world champion.

He was stripped off the belt last April due to inactivity, which paved the way for Nurmagomedov to win the belt at UFC 223 with a unanimous decision victory over Al Iaquinta.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is tipped to be a tough opponent for McGregor on October 6

The Russian will almost certainly provide McGregor with the sternest test of his MMA career with his immense grappling and punishing top game. And ahead of the fight, MMA analyst Robin Black is predicting the Irish would be forced to retire from the sport if he gets beaten again.

Many are tipping Nurmagomedov to hand McGregor his fourth professional loss, a setback Black believes could prompt ‘The Notorious’ to hang up his gloves.

“As much as there is so much for each one to gain, there is also a lot for each one to lose,” Black said of Nurmagomedov vs McGregor in a video interview with RT.

"If McGregor loses, in my opinion, he will retire. If McGregor loses this fight, he will retire," Black said in an interview

The stakes at UFC 229 are undoubtedly high for both men, but more so for the unbeaten Nurmagomedov, who reached the summit of the lightweight division as a result of the UFC brass reliving McGregor of the title in April.

Conor McGregor's three losses include the fight against Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in 2016

"If Khabib loses this fight, not only does he lose his undefeated record, but these loses to someone like McGregor, when the temperature has been raised… these losses are painful, they change a fighter forever. Look what happened to Jose Aldo,” Black added.

“And in theory the win gets him all the attention McGregor has, all of the audience, all of the support, all the passion abound him – love and hate. He gets all of that.

“What does Conor get with the win? Conor gets another belt. He gets to be the guy who defeated the undefeated fighter. He gets bragging rights. Becomes bigger even than he is now!

"After this fight, the winner will be immortal. And the loser… if it’s McGregor, he will retire.

While on break from the MMA, McGregor tried his hands at boxing, forcing Floyd Mayweather out of retirement for their multi-million dollar hyped fight in 2017.

 McGregor was stopped by the unbeaten champion in 10th round with a Technical Knockout.  He walked away richer by $3omillion as his purse. He hinted at going for a rematch, but talks over that second bout never materialised.