UFC president Dana White still believes Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight again.
White feels good about the UFC star potentially returning to competition despite saying he’s done fighting after this third title defense against Justin Gaethje in October at UFC 254.
Although Nurmagomedov announced his retirement in his post-fight interview that night, the promotion still has the Dagestani fighter labeled as the UFC lightweight champion. A big reason for that is because White plans to meet with Nurmagomedov next month to try to talk him into a comeback.
“I think his dad wanting him to get to 30-0 is in the back of his mind, and he wants to achieve that because he knew his father wanted it,” White told BT Sport. “But we’ll see. Him and I are getting together next month and talk. He might not want to fight, I don’t know the answer to that. But I’m a little confident that I can talk him into it.”
Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap, wanted his son to achieve a 30-0 record. However, following the death of his father, Nurmagomedov’s mother wanted him to defend the title against Gaethje and retire, which is why “The Eagle” made his announcement.
There’s a big lightweight fight on the horizon as Conor McGregor takes on Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23 in a highly anticipated rematch at UFC 257. Many have suggested that fight should be for the vacant or interim belt while the UFC resolves things with Nurmagovedov.
White confirmed McGregor-Porier 2 won’t be for an interim title, but he should know more about the stakes once he speaks with Nurmagovedov.
“No interim title, I’ll know next month,” White said. “I’ll know when Conor and Poirier are fighting, when he’s (Nurmagomedov) going to fight again, so it all times out perfectly.”