Dana White revealed Khabib Nurmagomedov’s decision. Yet, it is still uncertain whether the current UFC lightweight champion will step inside the Octagon one more time or will walk away for good.
“The Eagle” last fought in October 2020 when he submitted Justin Gaethje in the second round and announced his retirement. He secured the untouched 29-0 record and retained the belt. Few months before the event his father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov passed away.
Talking to Jon Anik on ESPN+ and ABC the network during UFC Fight Island 7: Holloway vs. Kattar broadcast early today (results here), White said the following:
“I thought in his last fight, his father had passed away, he’d been through a lot, away from his family during that time. He got injured while he was training, and I thought he made an emotional decision. There’s no reason to make a hasty decision like that, then, we didn’t have to.
I talked to him, told him to take his time, we’d get together later on. Last night, we did.”
“And basically, the way that he feels right now is – he’s accomplished everything he’s set out to accomplish.”
“He thought [Charles] Oliveira looked really good in his last fight against Tony Ferguson. So next Saturday we got the McGregor-Poirier fight and Chandler and Hooker on there.”
“So his words to me were, ‘I’m going to watch this fight’. He said ‘I would never tie up the division, hold the belt, and keep the belt away from anyone else. If these guys do something spectacular, show me something spectacular, and make me want to come back and fight’.”
“So, I have the feeling, that if somebody delivers – that can be on the co-main event or the main event and, like I said he thought Oliveira looked good. To fights coming up, Oliveira looked great. If these guys can do something special – Khabib will fight them.”
"Show me something spectacular and make me want to come back and fight."@danawhite explained to @Jon_Anik what @TeamKhabib told him during their meeting, addressing the lightweights fighting at #UFC257 pic.twitter.com/oFr4TmCNI3
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 16, 2021
Conor McGregor meets Dustin Poirier in the rematch, headlining UFC 257 live on pay-per-view on Saturday, January 23 (Sunday, January 24 in Australia). Nurmagomedov defeated both by submission in the third and fourth rounds, respectively. “The Notorious” was calling for the rematch, while “The Eagle” showed no interest.
The co-main event at UFC 257 features Dan Hooker up against former Bellator MMA lightweight champion Michael Chandler, who makes his promotional debut.
At the UFC Fight Island 7 post-fight press conference White was asked whether retired MMA great George St-Pierre came up in the conversation. The potential Khabib vs GSP fight has been something that the fans would certainly love to see. Both competitors, as well, showed their interest in the idea, at least in the past. The answer, however, was “Nope”.
“GSP never came up,” White said. “He [Nurmagomedov] is not interested in that fight. From what I hear today, after that, neither is GSP. So, that’s over.”