UFC President Dana White firmly believes that unbeaten UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is going to fight again—despite his recent retirement announcement.
Nurmagomedov last fought in the main event of UFC 254 in late October, when he defended the lightweight title with a second-round submission of Justin Gaethje, and pushed his record to 29-0 in the process.
In his post-fight interview with UFC commentator Jon Anik, Nurmagomedov explained that he’d promised his mother his fight with Gaethje would be his last, citing the death of his father and mentor Abdulmanap as the reason.
“This was my last fight,” a visibly emotional Nurmagomedov said.
White, however, isn’t buying it.
Speaking at the conclusion of this week’s episode of Contender Series, the UFC boss was asked whether the rumored January rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier could crown a new lightweight champion, with Nurmagomedov ostensibly retiring. He insisted that there will be no title on the line in that fight, because Nurmagomedov will fight again.
“No, Khabib’s going to fight,” White said (via MMA Junkie). “I believe he’s going to. (McGregor-Poirier is) not for the title.
“I told you guys that I think he’s going to go to 30 (wins),” White added, referencing the fact that Nurmagomedov is still undergoing drug tests as part of the UFC’s partnership with the United States Anti-Doping Agency. “If he’s still testing – why the hell would you want to test still if you’re not going to fight?
“He hasn’t committed, but I feel like he’s going to, and I’m not really pushing him,” White concluded. “We talked about it and he just fought. Let him take some time, spend some time with his family, spend the holidays. There’s no rush.”
Do you think we’ll see Khabib Nurmagomedov fight one last time before he retires for good? If so, who would you like to see him compete against?