It appears the future of the UFC lightweight championship will be determined today.
Dana White and Khabib Nurmagomedov have had their much talked about meeting to discuss The Eagle’s fighting future and what that means for the UFC lightweight championship. Nurmagomedov retired following his UFC 249 victory over Justin Gaethje, leaving the lightweight division in a state of flux. However, UFC president White has maintained that he believes Nurmagomedov will come back for one more fight, and has kept the title on the champ despite him leaving the sport. A meeting between the two to set things straight has been long teased, but a video posted on White’s Twitter account appears to confirm that it has taken place.
White has said in the lead-up to their meeting that he expects it to be short and sweet. “It’s going to be a five-minute conversation,” White said. “It’s yes or no.” He believes that Nurmagomedov’s retirement was premature and mostly brought on by the emotions he had leading into the fight. White says now that Khabib has had time to clear his mind, he’ll be willing to return and run his record to 30-0 (H/T MMAJunkie).
“When I left Abu Dhabi last time, and he and I were texting, we went back and forth on why I think he should keep fighting,” White said. “He was super emotional coming out of that fight. He’s had time now to rest, think about it, (and) all the other things. This is going to be a five-minute conversation. … I think he’ll fight, but we’ll see. It’s not going to be an argument or a lengthy conversation. It’s going to be a ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”
In another interview with ESPN, White made it clear that he believes Nurmagomedov still has what it takes to compete at the highest level, and doesn’t want to see him walk away only to later regret it (H/T BJPenn).
“I’m obviously meeting with him because I think that he should fight again,” White told ESPN recently. “Look at what he did to Justin Gaethje. Look at what he’s done to every opponent he has faced. I think he should fight again and I’m going to press him as hard as I can for one more.”
The outcome of their meeting is sure to have a major effect on not just the division, but the UFC as a whole. Nurmagomedov’s dominance has made him one of the biggest stars in the company, and White would obviously love to have him back for another major card. As well, Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor meet in a pivotal match-up next weekend, with the winner expected to be the number-one contender for the title. If Khabib stays retired, will we see the victor be crowned the new champion after their fight? All of our questions are sure to be answered by, or shortly after, UFC 257.
What do you think the outcome of the meeting between Dana White and Khabib Nurmagomedov will be?