Dana White praises Khabib Nurmagomedov following his retirement: “You have to start putting him up there at GOAT status”

Khabib Nurmagomedov, Dana White

UFC president Dana White praised Khabib Nurmagomedov following his retirement from MMA, while also adding he fought with a broken foot.

Nurmagomedov put on a stunning performance in the main event of UFC 254, as he was able to submit Justin Gaethje with a triangle choke in the second round. Nurmagomedov improved to 29-0 with the victory, including a 13-0 mark in the UFC, but shocked the MMA community when he immediately announced his retirement from the sport.

Following UFC 254, White spoke at the press conference and praised Nurmagomedov in the wake of his retirement, while adding a few other details of pre-fight injuries he had.

“He was in the Octagon, we were all just standing around listening and you know, you could tell, I can tell, it almost smelled like an upset tonight. The way he reacted at the weigh-ins, the way he acted when he was walking out tonight. He didn’t look like himself, taking deep breaths. But wow,” White said.

“What this guy’s been through, we were all lucky that we got to see him fight tonight. And I’m hearing rumors of other things that I didn’t know about that you guys will hear about when he comes out later. Apparently, he was in the hospital and he broke his foot three weeks ago. So he has two broken toes and a bone in his foot that is broken or something like that. That’s what his corner was telling me. Never told anybody, walking around. So, I mean, he is one of the toughest human beings on the planet and he is just the No. 1 pound for pound fighter in the world. And seriously you have to start putting him up there at GOAT status with whoever else you think is the GOAT.”

White said he would let Nurmagomedov take his time before he reached out to him again. Fans and media are already speculating that Nurmagomedov could be coaxed back to fight Georges St-Pierre in a superfight one day, but for now White says he will leave the former champ alone.

“I don’t ever — listen when guys want to fight they want to fight if they don’t want to fight, they don’t want to fight. Let him take some time off. Let him heal. Not physically,  but emotionally heal from losing his father. Like I said, we’re all lucky we got to see him tonight.”

Do you think Dana White will be able to convince Khabib Nurmagomedov to fight again?