UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov on Wednesday announced his new fight promotion, but also reiterated that he has no interest in returning to the UFC to fight the winner of Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier.
Khabib held a press conference on Wednesday in Russia, where he revealed his new fight promotion, Eagle Fighting Championships.
He recently retired following his submission of Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October. UFC president Dana White, however, has not declared the belt vacant, instead giving Khabib time to think it over and reconsider.
White has said many times that he believes Khabib will forego his promise to his mother to quit fighting and instead honor the plan he had with his father to notch a 30th victory before retiring. He is currently 29-0.
Khabib has not yet said that he would not consider returning to the Octagon, and admitted that he and White are meeting soon to discuss his future.
One thing Khabib has been adamant about is that he has no desire to return simply to fight McGregor or Poirier, both of whom he has submitted in the past couple of years.
Khabib submitted McGregor in the fourth round at UFC 229 in October of 2018; the same night that he jumped the Octagon fence to brawl with McGregor cornerman Dillon Danis in the crowd. He then submitted Poirier in September 2019.
With those victories under his belt, Khabib insists that neither of them is enough to lure him back to the Octagon.
At his press conference in Russia, Khabib told reporter Igor Lazorin that White would probably first offer him money, but that wouldn’t be enough and he couldn’t see who would be a tempting opponent.
When questioned about McGregor or Poirier, Khabib said, “What for? I choked both. Why I should do this?”
Obviously, especially if it were McGregor winning against Poirier in the UFC 257 headliner in January, there is another blockbuster payday on the table. Khabib admitted as much, but downplayed the temptation to fight again solely for the money.
“Yes, only money. There is no sports interest there. I choked both of them, both were champions, both surrendered to me,” he said.
“As our proverb says: a horse doesn’t run until the donkey wins. Donkeys don’t even take part in competitions where horses run. I have no interest in fighting against these opponents. Imagine UFC offered you $100 million. This is already a problem. But there is no sports interest there.”
Khabib also intends on making MMA an Olympic sport
Aside from launching his new Eagle FC fight promotion (which was born out of purchasing Gorilla Fighting Championship and rebranding it), Khabib hopes to be a driving force in getting mixed martial arts approved for the Olympic games as soon as Paris in 2024, though he admitted a more likely target would be Los Angeles in 2028.
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