It is no secret that the UFC plans on the return of one of their biggest stars, and current Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
During a recent interview, UFC President Dana White sat down with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and detailed his plans for the lightweight division, sharing that Khabib will remain the champion while the division works itself out.
“If you look at the number one ranked guy in the world, Dustin Poirier, all the way down to the number seven ranked guy who I think is Rafael Dos Anjos, the fights that can be made to find out who becomes the next champion are unbelievable,” White said. “So we’re in for some incredible fights to find out who of these guys from one to seven will square off to find out who becomes the next world champion.”
Dana continued sharing that he still had plans to meet with Khabib in Vegas to discuss his future in the organization and he remains hopeful that Khabib will defend his title once again.
“First of all, the one thing that he says is that he doesn’t want to stall and keep the title in limbo, Which he’s not any way all these guys need to fight you know,” White said. “I saw some talk yesterday that said ‘Dustin should be the champion’ well Dustin just got smoked by Khabib, Conor got smoked by Khabib, Gaethje got smoked by Khabib, I mean there is no guy you look at right now and go ‘oh this guy’ they’re going to have to fight it out. You have one through seven fight this thing out and we’ll find out who the champ is.”
“I believe I truly believe this, he (Khabib) can say whatever he wants. I believe that if this thing plays out, the right guy however the fight happens, he’ll fight them. I believe that I truly believe that and I think he knows it too.”
White continued sharing that he believes should the tournament result with Conor McGregor rising to the top then he thinks that a rematch against Khabib would interest the champion in returning.
“He hates Conor McGregor so bad, and I believe that if Conor came out of this thing and Conor was to be the guy to win the title then he would fight Conor, I truly believe that.”
In the past Khabib has been adamant that he has no plan to return to the sport after retiring 29-0 due to family reasons. It remains to be seen what the outcome from White’s upcoming meeting with the champ will look like.