UFC President Dana White is feeling confident that he can convince UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to fight again.
Nurmagomedov retired in November, after he submitted Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi. After the fight, the unbeaten Russian shocked the MMA world by announcing his retirement from mixed martial arts, citing the recent death of his father and mentor Abdulmanap and a promise to his mother as the reasons.
“This was my last fight,” a visibly emotional Nurmagomedov said in his post-fight interview Jon Anik. “I promised [my mother], it’s going to be my last fight… It was my last fight here. Tuesday, you guys have to put me No. 1 pound-for-pound because I deserve this.”
“Today’s my last fight in the UFC.”
Despite this announcement from Nurmagomedov, White has been adamant that the unbeaten lightweight will end up fighting again, and remains confident that he can convince him to delay his retirement.
“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 recently (via MMA Junkie). “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.”
With Nurmagomedov ostensibly retired, there’s been some talk of attaching an interim title or even the undisputed title to the January 23 lightweight rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. White, however, is adamant that won’t be happening.
“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.”
What do you think the future holds for Khabib Nurmagomedov? Do you think Dana White will coax him out of retirement?