UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement at UFC 254 just over a month ago. Nonetheless, he remains in the UFC’s official lightweight and pound-for-pound rankings, UFC president Dana White remains hopeful that he will return for another fight, and even Khabib’s manager Ali Abdelaziz has expressed hope for a return for the Russian champion.
In spite of this, Nurmagomedov remains committed to staying retired. “It will be hard for [Dana White] to surprise me with any opponent,” Khabib told Russian journalist Igor Lazorin. In response to questions about fighting the winner of the upcoming bout between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, he said: “What for? I choked both… There is no sports interest there.”
Nurmagomedov, of course, defeated McGregor via 4th round neck crank at UFC 229, and Poirier via 3rd round rear naked choke at UFC 242. McGregor and Poirier will fight each other in 2021. Many presumed this would be for the vacant lightweight title, but Dana White has been non-committal as to whether this would be the case.
While Nurmagomedov has often fanned the flames of speculation with cryptic social media posts, officially he continues to affirm that he has no intention of competing again.