UFC president Dana White has no idea how his meeting with Khabib Nurmagomedov will go.
White will be meeting Nurmagomedov in Abu Dhabi soon in an effort to convince him to come out of retirement for one more fight.
Nurmagomedov, of course, retired from mixed martial arts in October following his lightweight title defense over Justin Gaethje. However, White has repeatedly stated his belief that “The Eagle” will compete again to fulfill his late father’s dream of him going 30-0.
For now, nobody knows what will happen — including White.
“I don’t know how the meeting’s going to go. I’m obviously meeting with him because I believe that he should fight again,” White told ESPN. “I mean, look at what he did to Justin Gaethje. Look at what he’s done to every opponent he has faced. Like when I wanted [Daniel] Cormier to stay, I still think they’re the best in the world. And then there’s always the argument, well, it’s never a bad thing to go out on top.
“And when you talk about money, I mean Khabib has money beyond belief. This guy doesn’t ever have to work again and he still has the ability to do things to make unbelievable money. He’s in a very unique position as a fighter. … I have no idea but I think he should fight again and I’m gonna press him as hard as I can for one more.”
White: Nurmagomedov Went Through A Lot
Some might think White is being hypocritical given how he’s always claimed he wants fighters who even think of retirement to call it a day.
But this is a unique situation according to the UFC head honcho given the emotions Nurmagomedov had to deal with leading up to his retirement.
“As a promoter, you always want the best guys in the world but at the same time as a promoter, when a guy wants to retire, he probably should if that’s even crossing your mind or thinking,” White said. “The difference with a guy like Khabib is he’s been through so much and losing his dad was such a major blow to him. It’s something that they did together, yet his dad wanted him to hit 30-0.
“But as a fight fan, I want Khabib to fight 10 more.”
If White is successful in persuading him, the question would then be who Nurmagomedov should face to go 30-0.
White has already stated that ideally a rematch with Conor McGregor happens and reiterated it once again.
“No matter what you think of Conor personally, Conor McGregor is not only one of the best in the world, one of the best to ever do it,” White added. “Right now he’s as focused as he’s ever been. I don’t know if this is gonna be the same Conor after the Poirier fight. But if this Conor sticks around for the next year, how do you not do Khabib vs. Conor again?
“The division’s stacked with tough guys and the reality is that if Khabib does retire, then whoever the highest-ranked guy is at the time will end up facing Conor if Conor beats Poirier and would fight for the title, I’m sure.”
It’s only a matter of time until we get further clarity on the lightweight situation.