It’s not often that UFC president Dana White tries to talk a fighter out of retiring. But that’s exactly what he intends to do when he meets with UFXC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The two are expected to have a face-to-face meeting some time during the UFC’s upcoming three-event, eight-day stint in Abu Dhabi.
White typically goes by the refrain that if a fighter utters the “R” word, he or she probably should retire. That doesn’t hold with Khabib, whom White insists that he is going to press hard to walk back his retirement and return to the Octagon.
“I think he should fight again and I’m gonna press him as hard as I can for one more,” White said in a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
It’s not clear what White is going to use to lure Khabib back into the fight game, but he certainly sounds like he wants Conor McGregor to be a part of it.
McGregor is currently slated to rematch Dustin Poirier in the UFC 257 main event on Jan. 23, the focal point of the upcoming Fight Island stint.
White believes that McGregor is currently looking as sharp as ever. He thinks that if that holds true and McGregor wants to continue fighting, a rematch with Khabib would be a prime target for 2021.
“If this Conor sticks around for the next year, how do you not do Khabib vs. Conor again?” White questioned. Khabib submitted McGregor in the fourth round of their UFC 229 main event in October of 2018.
“If Khabib does retire, then whoever the highest ranked guy is at the time will end up facing Conor if Conor beats Poirier and would fight for the title, I’m sure.”
The only fight that Khabib has really shown interest in is opposite retired former two-division UFC champion Georges St-Pierre. St-Pierre hasn’t sounded like he is all that inclined to return to the Octagon and White hasn’t sounded too interested in trying to persuade him to return.
But stranger things have happened in the Octagon. Anyone remember a little fight between former UFC champion Randy Couture and professional boxer James Toney?
(Courtesy of ESPN MMA)
Flashback: Randy Couture comments on James Toney UFC fight
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