Khabib on Conor McGregor's UFC Retirement: 'I Don't Think He's Finished'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 06:  Conor McGregor of Ireland walks to his corner before facing Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia in their UFC lightweight championship bout during the UFC 229 event inside T-Mobile Arena on October 6, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is doubtful Conor McGregor will remain retired from the sport.

McGregor announced his retirement from MMA last week, but speaking at a university in Moscow, Nurmagomedov said on Tuesday that "I don't think he's finished," per the Associated Press (via ESPN).

The Russian added his belief that McGregor "couldn't reach a deal with the UFC, and it's so they feel they've lost him and they could lose money."

McGregor's announcement in March came out of the blue:

Conor McGregor @TheNotoriousMMA

Hey guys quick announcement, I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as “Mixed Martial Art” today. I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition. I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!

However, it is not the first time the Irishman has made such an announcement on Twitter.

In April 2016, he declared his retirement from the UFC having lost to Nate Diaz the month prior:

Conor McGregor @TheNotoriousMMA

I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya's later.

However, he fought twice more that year, beating welterweight Diaz in their August rematch before winning the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez in November.

His only UFC bout since was his defeat to Nurmagomedov in October last year.

Nurmagomedov forced a submission from McGregor in the fourth round before the eruption of a post-fight brawl involving the two fighters' camps.

McGregor will be eligible to fight again on Saturday after he was hit with a ban by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for his part in the proceedings, while Nurmagomedov must wait until July 6 to become eligible again.

Following McGregor's recent announcement, UFC President Dana White appeared to confirm to ESPN's Brett Okamoto he would no longer be fighting:

Brett Okamoto @bokamotoESPN

Statement from Dana White (@danawhite) on Conor McGregor’s retirement announcement moments ago, via text. https://t.co/MNPnYypKPn

However, in an interview with Las Vegas CBS8 (via UFC.com), when asked if he thought McGregor was retired for good, White said: "No. I think that there's some things that Conor wants, and I think that Conor wants to get together face-to-face, he and I, and we probably will in the next couple of weeks, and we'll get this thing figured out."

As arguably the biggest name in the UFC, White is surely hoping the 30-year-old will return to the Octagon.

He's young enough to remain competitive in the sport for years to come, and a rematch with Nurmagomedov could be particularly lucrative if he makes his comeback.