UFC President Dana White said Saturday that Khabib Nurmagomedov did not rule out a return to the Octagon during their meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Friday.
Per ESPN's Ariel Helwani, White recapped what Khabib told him as follows: "I'm going to watch the two lightweight fights at 257. If these guys do something spectacular and make me want to come back and fight, I'll fight."
Next Saturday's UFC 257 card will feature a main event of Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier and a co-main event of Dan Hooker vs. Michael Chandler.
Khabib announced his retirement from fighting after beating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October, but he has seemingly left the door open for a comeback.
While announcing his retirement, Khabib mentioned he did not want to fight anymore following the death of his father and trainer, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. He also said he spoke with his mother and told her he would stop fighting.
White, however, has said it was a rash decision and that he would speak with Khabib about coming back.
Khabib did not give a firm commitment, but the fact that he isn't vacating the UFC Lightweight Championship may be a good sign for those who want to see him compete again.
Now, the pressure is on McGregor, Poirier, Hooker and Chandler to perform well.
White also mentioned Khabib said he was impressed by Charles Oliveira in his win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 256 last month, meaning Khabib vs. Oliveira may be a possibility as well.
Khabib is perhaps the most dominant UFC fighter of all time with a 29-0 career record and 13-0 UFC mark to his credit.
Aside from McGregor, he may be the biggest draw in the sport, so it is no surprise White is lobbying for his return.
The biggest possible fight would be Khabib vs. McGregor in a rematch of their UFC 229 bout in October 2018, which Nurmagomedov won by fourth-round submission.
It is far from set in stone that Khabib will return, but retirements in combat sports are often fleeting, and his comments to White suggest he may not be done.