UFC president Dana White has been saying for months that he believes lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov would return to the Octagon. That is no longer what he’s saying after Dustin Poirier knocked out Conor McGregor on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi.
White spoke with Khabib earlier in the week, again telling the media that he believed his champion might fight again, depending upon the outcome of the UFC 257 main and co-main event bouts.
While Poirier knocked out McGregor in the headliner, former Bellator champion Michael Chandler announced his arrival in the Octagon by taking out Dan Hooker in two minutes and 30 seconds.
Neither appears to be a performance that will entice Khabib back into the Octagon to try and up his spotless record from 29-0 to 30-0.
“I did talk to Khabib (tonight),” White said at the UFC 257 Post-Fight Press Conference.
“He told me, ‘Dana, be honest with yourself. I’m so many levels above these guys. I beat these guys.’ I don’t know, but it doesn’t sound very positive. And what he said was, I won’t hold the division up.”
White also finally admitted publicly that his belief that Khabib would return to the Octagon again was his thinking, not Khabib’s.
“He already retired. He’s basically retired,” White said. “I’m the one that’s been trying to get him to do one more.”
Despite finally coming to the realization that Khabib probably won’t return to the Octagon, White said he’s not putting a timeline on a definitive decision from Khabib.
With Poirier and Chandler having just fought and won at UFC 257, White sees them fighting for the belt if Khabib doesn’t return, so he has a bit of time to let his champion put a stamp on his retirement.
Dana White addresses Khabib, Conor McGregor, and future of the lightweight division following UFC 257
(Video courtesy of MMA Junkie)