Ultimate Fighting Championship

Khabib open to come out of retirement, says UFC president

Leigh Nald Cabildo
Khabib open to come out of retirement, says UFC president

FINAL FIGHT? Khabib Nurmagomedov grapples with Justin Gaethje in their lightweight title bout during the UFC 254 event last October in Abu Dhabi.

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images/UFC

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov may return to the octagon if other fighters show him ‘something spectacular’

After his shocking retirement announcement last year in UFC 254, world lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is now open for a return to the octagon, but under certain conditions. 

UFC president Dana White announced on Sunday, January 17, during the first UFC Fight Night of the year that Khabib will defend his title if he would be impressed by the upcoming lightweight bouts in the UFC 257 on January 24.

“[Khabib’s] words to me were, I’m gonna watch this fight, he said I would never tie up the division, I would not hold the belt and keep the belt from anybody else,” White said. “If these guys can do something spectacular – show me something spectacular and make me wanna come back and fight.”

Aside from Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor, the upcoming PPV event next week will also feature potential lightweight contenders Michael Chandler and Dan Hooker. 

White also mentioned that Charles Oliveira, who had a breakout performance against former interim champion Tony Ferguson last December in UFC 256, is also included in the list of fighters that Khabib is looking at.

“[Khabib] thought Oliveira looked real good,” White added. “Two fights coming up, Oliveira looked great. If these guys can do something special, Khabib will fight them.”

Khabib had a rough 2020 outside the octagon. His father and long-time trainer, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, died last July due to COVID-19 complications.

Right after his submission victory against Justin Gaethje, Khabib stayed in the middle of the octagon in tears and announced he will hang the gloves to fulfill his promise to his mother.

“In his last fight, he’s been through a lot,” said White. “His father passed away, he’s been away from his family during that time, got injured while he was training and I thought he made an emotional decision.”

 “I talked to him, I told him to take his time, we would get together later on, and last night we did. Basically, the way that he feels right now, he’s accomplished everything that he’s set out to accomplish,” White added.

Despite the announced retirement last year, Khabib, who currently holds a 29-0 record, never vacated the title and was never removed from the UFC rankings. The 155-pound king remained atop of the division and the UFC’s pound-for-pound ranking. 

During the post-fight conference, White also mentioned that Khabib will stay in Fight Island to corner one of his teammates, but will not be present in  UFC 257.

White is also expecting to meet with Khabib again in Las Vegas after the events in Abu Dhabi to determine his final decision. – Rappler.com

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