Dana White to press Nurmagomedov for one more fight
UFC president Dana White will meet with lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov this week and encourage the fighter to give it one more go. It will be their first meeting since Nurmagomedov announced his retirement in October after UFC 254.
White said he will meet with the fighter in Abu Dhabi where the promotion is hosting its “Fight Island.” The plan is to bring Nurmagomedov back, especially after he choked out Justin Gaethje in the second round of his final fight.
"I’m obviously meeting with him because I think that he should fight again. Look at what he did to Justin Gaethje [in October]. Look at what he's done to every opponent he has faced. ... I think he should fight again and I'm going to press him as hard as I can for one more," ESPN cited him as saying.
Nurmagomedov, 32, went out as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world in the Yahoo Sports rankings and was a perfect 29-0. He was emotional after his third title defense and shockingly announced he would not fight again.
It was his first fight without his father and coach, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who died of COVID-19 complications in July. Khabib said he promised his mother he would not fight again.
White has voiced doubt that Nurmagomedov is actually done and won’t return at some point to fight. "As a promoter, you always want to see the best guys in the world, but at the same time, when a guy wants to retire, he probably should. The difference with a guy like Khabib is he's been through so much, and losing his dad was a major blow to him. Yet, his dad wanted him to hit 30-0," White said.
Nurmagomedov and McGregor met for the title on October 2018. Nurmagomedov won via submission in the fourth round. It was their only meeting and setting up a second might be easier said than done.