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Dana White has ‘a feeling’ Khabib Nurmagomedov won’t stay retired after talking to him

Dana White and Khabib Nurmagomedov have been in communication with each other this week, and apparently the undefeated champion said something that has the UFC president thinking his retirement won’t last.

“Khabib and I have been talking,” White told “The Zach Gelb Show” on CBS Sports Radio on Thursday. “He was completely emotional that night when he got through that fight. I have a feeling that he might go for 30-0.”

Nurmagomedov is coming off another dominant performance, this time a second-round submission of Justin Gaethje last Saturday at UFC 254. Afterward, Nurmagomedov was in tears as he took off his gloves and called an end to his career during his post-fight interview with commentator Jon Anik. In making this decision, Nurmagomedov cited a promise to his mother to not fight without his coach and father, Abdulmanap, who died in June from COVID-19 complications.

Prior to his death, Abdulmanap spoke about his desire to see Khabib, who’s 30-0 overall with 13 UFC wins, reach the 30-0 mark. White hinted that could still be a priority, despite the promise Khabib made to his mother.

“I think that he’s not going to retire,” White said. “His dad wanted him to get to 30-0, and I think he wants to honor his dad’s wish.”

If true, it would be an about-face from sentiments just two days ago. On Tuesday when Nurmagomedov returned to Dagestan, he doubled down on standing by retirement in his first comments since the announcement in the cage at UFC 254.

“Of course, Dana wants me to continue fighting and generate revenue,” Nurmagomedov said in Russian, as translated by RT Sport. “I can make money myself. I’m at the peak of my career and can fight for very large purses, but I made this decision, and I think this is the best time. Not everyone can retire at their peak, but I know that in a year, two or five (years) I’d have to face that decision again.

“I did enough in the sport to be considered the best. Today, I was ranked as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, so the mission is accomplished. What else is there to do? Make money? I’ll always be able to do that.”

Should Nurmagomedov return to the cage, perhaps it would be for a much talked-about fight against UFC Hall of Famer Georges St-Pierre. Nurmagomedov has said he’s not interested in a rematch with either Conor McGregor or Dustin Poirer, who are expected to fight Jan. 23 at UFC 257.

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