Conor McGregor's coach John Kavanagh saddened by Khabib's retirement ahead of UFC 257 clash with Dustin Poirier

CONOR McGREGOR's head coach John Kavanagh admits he was somewhat saddened by Khabib Nurmagomedov's decision to retire from mixed martial arts.

The undefeated Russian called time on his career last October after beating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, revealing he'd promised his mother he'd no longer compete without his late father by his side.

Kavanagh was among those disheartened by the lightweight champion's decision to hang up his gloves, a disappointment that stems from him wanting to plot his downfall.

When asked if he was sad about not being able to bring about the fall of The Eagle, he told SunSport: "Yeah, of course.

"He was the undefeated UFC lightweight champion. There's no competitor that wouldn't want to test themselves against that guy."

Although he somewhat selfishly wants Nurmagomedov – who defeated McGregor two years ago at UFC 229 – to still be part of the lightweight division, the SBG Ireland chief completely understands his reasons for retiring.

In fact, Kavanagh wants him to enjoy life outside of fighting.

He added: "I do nothing but wish him well in his retirement."

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Kavanagh's desire to play a role in Nurmagomedov's first professional defeat was recently given a glimmer of hope when the Dagestani informed UFC president Dana White he's contemplating making a return to the octagon.

But the 32-year-old, who appears to have received his mother's blessing to fight again, will only return if one of the four lightweights competing at UFC 257 – McGregor included – does something 'spectacular'.

Last weekend, White said: "Basically the way that he feels right now is, he's accomplished everything he set out to accomplish.

"He thought that [Charles] Oliveira looked really good in his last fight against Tony Ferguson.

"So next Saturday we've got the [Conor] McGregor, [Dustin] Poirier fight and [Michael] Chandler and [Dan] Hooker on there.

"So his words to me were, 'I'm going to watch this fight. I would never tie up the division.

"These guys do something spectacular, show me something spectacular and make me want to come back and fight.'"

McGregor's showdown with Poirier will take place this weekend in the main event of UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi, which will close out the promotion's third 'Fight Island' stint.

The fight will be a rematch of the pair's meeting six years ago at UFC 178, which McGregor won via a devastating first-round knockout.

The Notorious is eyeing an even quicker finish second time around, vowing to turn off Poirier's lights in under a minute.

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