Khabib Nurmagomedov has given a rather honest assessment about his former boss.
Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from MMA after defeating Justin Gathje at UFC 254. However, UFC president Dana White was adamant that he could convince the undefeated fighter to come back for one more fight. That all changed last month, when the UFC finally accepted that Nurmagomedov was gone and stripped him of the lightweight title.
Speaking to teammate Daniel Cormier on the UFC 260 weigh-in show, Nurmagomedov elaborated on the meetings he had with White and his decision to ultimately retire from the sport. ‘The Eagle’ maintained that he didn’t see any challenges for himself in the current landscape and didn’t want to hold up the division any longer.
“It’s very hard to say no to Dana White. I’m going to be very honest because this guy, sometimes he is nice. Sometimes he is not nice. Sometimes he says one thing,” Nurmagomedov said. “Anyways, it was very honest, real talk with two real men. This is what I feel. In the last meeting, he come and say, ‘Hey, what are we going to do?’ I say, ‘Nothing changed. Nothing changed.’ I think, my opinion, lightweight division has to go on. I don’t want to hold (the) division.”
While nothing Nurmagomedov said was particularly inflammatory, it’s definitely a broader peak into their relationship than we’ve seen him give in the past.
The relationship between Nurmagomedov and White now that the former is retired should be interesting to watch play out. Nurmagomedov still remains a huge sports figure in Russia and has essentially served as a brand ambassador overseas. As well, he said said that he hopes his newly minted Eagle Fighting Championship can find a home on UFC Fight Pass and serve as a feeder league to the world’s premier MMA organization.
And lest we forget, Nurmagomedov is only 32 years old. He still has a few years left in his prime, and while he may be happy in retirement now, a new challenge could arise that peaks his interest. If that does happen, you can bet White would welcome him back with open arms, so it would be in his best interest to stay in Nurmagomedov’s good books for the time being.
What do you make of the relationship between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dana White?