UFC president Dana White seems determined to get Khabib Nurmagomedov to return to the octagon, but also has stated that if the current UFC lightweight champion opts not to make a comeback, he certainly will not hold up the Lightweight division.
Speaking with Jim Rome on CBS Sports, the UFC President revealed that the duo are set for another meeting, this time in Las Vegas, following the UFC 257 PPV on Saturday, where the two will discuss the state of the lightweight division and see if any options emerge that could convince the Lightweight champ to return to the cage in 2021.
“He’s coming out to Vegas and he and I are going to go to dinner,” White said. “He said, ‘The one thing I won’t do (is) I will never hold up the division. So if I decide that I’m not gonna fight one of these guys, I’m retired (and) the belt can move on.’”
White explained that he thinks the circumstances around Nurmagomedov’s win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 last October led to a rushed decision to walk away from the sport.
“I just feel like he decided to retire under a ton of pressure. His dad just died, he didn’t spend time with his family because he was in camp. He got injured and had a hard time cutting weight because of the injury. He goes in, fights the fight and I think he made an emotional decision. So we’ll see how this thing plays out this weekend.”
White seemingly believes there’s a good chance the undefeated Nurmagomedov could change his mind if the right challenge presents itself and, ahead of UFC 257, the UFC President has elaborated that lightweights Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Michael Chandler and Dan Hooker to tear the house down and give Khabib enough reasons to come out of retirement to defend his world title.
“I think that he still wants to fight,” said White. “He’s looking at, ‘I beat all these guys. What’s the next challenge for me? Let’s see how this thing goes this weekend and (see) if somebody looks really good.” (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)
These are certainly some of the most exciting and electrifying times in the UFC and especially the Lightweight division.
Do you think Dana White will convince Khabib Nurmagomedov to fight again?