Dana White Says He'll Bet on His Ability to Persuade Khabib to Return to UFC

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2020

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov holds the trophy belt during a news conference in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. The Russian professional mixed martial arts fighter Nurmagomedov, said he can imagine a reconciliation with Conor McGregor after the bitter feud around last month's title fight, but said he would like to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

UFC President Dana White believes he will be able to convince Khabib Nurmagomedov to come out of retirement when they meet next month.

In an interview with TMZ Sports, White said: "The truth is, [Khabib] is not committed to anything. What he has committed to is meeting with me next month."

White added: "We're gonna find out how persuasive I can be. I'll bet on me every time."

After beating Justin Gaethje by second-round technical submission to retain the UFC lightweight championship at UFC 254 in October, Khabib shockingly announced his retirement from MMA at the age of 32.

Upon retiring, Khabib said it was his mother's wish that he no longer fight. He also cited not wanting to fight anymore following the death of his father and trainer, Abdulmanap, in July.

Nurmagomedov is one of the most successful fighters in UFC history, as he owns a 29-0 record with 11 submissions and eight wins by way of knockout.

Khabib essentially ran through the lightweight division with victories over Gaethje, Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor, but there are still some intriguing fights left on the table.

A rematch with McGregor would undoubtedly generate a ton of interest, as would a clash with other lightweight contenders such as Tony Ferguson, Dan Hooker and Charles Oliveira.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Even with Khabib currently retired, there is still a great deal of buzz surrounding the lightweight division. Most notably, McGregor and Poirier are set to clash at UFC 257 on Jan. 23.

If White is able to convince Khabib to come out of retirement for at least one more fight in an effort to go for 30-0, perhaps the winner of McGregor vs. Poirier would make for a logical opponent.