Khabib Nurmagomedov responded to Conor McGregor's shock retirement by saying 'there can be only one king in the jungle'

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov has responded to Conor McGregor’s shock retirement by taunting his lightweight rival.
  • McGregor tweeted a statement confirming his retirement from mixed martial arts on Monday, dashing hopes he would return to fight Nurmagomedov in a rematch of their wild UFC 229 brawl last year.
  • Nurmagomedov, the unbeaten UFC champion, said: “There can be only one king in the jungle.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov has responded to his rival Conor McGregor’s shock retirement by saying “there can be only one king in the jungle.”

Nurmagomedov, the unbeaten UFC lightweight champion, famously defeated McGregor with ease before submitting him for good at a wild UFC 229 show that was marred by postfight riots last year.

The bout only amplified their rivalry, and there had even been talk of a big-money rematch later in 2019, a fight both the UFC boss Dana White and the minority UFC owner Sylvester Stallone wanted to see.

Read more: Sylvester Stallone says the UFC is worried about Conor McGregor after the Irishman got ‘publicly humiliated’

But those plans have been shelved as McGregor tweeted on Tuesday that he was walking away from the sport.

“I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as ‘Mixed Martial Art’ today,” he told his 7.5 million followers on Twitter.

Nurmagomedov, tweeting hours later, then posted a photograph of himself with the UFC championship title in front of him alongside the caption “There can be only one king in the jungle.”

Both McGregor and Nurmagomedov are serving Nevada State Athletic Commission suspensions for the roles they played in the postfight brawls at UFC 229.

While McGregor would be free to fight starting April 6, Nurmagomedov was suspended for an extra three months – a ban that can be reduced should he film and distribute an anti-bullying public service announcement.

Read more: Conor McGregor’s ’embarrassing’ behaviour means trash talk should be policed, fight regulator says

The two fighters were seemingly aligned to meet once again and settle their differences in 2019. White told TMZ Sports earlier in the year that “a lot of people want to see that fight” and that the rematch should happen this year.

For now, if McGregor’s retirement is to be believed, Nurmagomedov will have to defend his title against an alternative opponent.

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