UFC president Dana White doesn’t care what UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov keeps saying about his plan to stay retired. White revealed to TMZ Sports in an interview published on Friday that he’s doubling down on the idea that Nurmagomedov will head back into the Octagon sometime next year for one more massive superfight.
“Yeah, 100%, I think there’s a good chance he does [come back],” White said. “His father wanted him to go 30-0. He was super emotional after that last fight, and we’ve been through a ton of s***. So I think he will.”
Just how sure is White? He said he would bet money on it.
“Like I said, nothing is done,” White said. “But if I had to make a bet, and I am a betting man, I would bet that he does.”
If you think about it, White already sort of is betting money on it by keeping Nurmagomedov listed as the UFC’s 155-pound champion.
So White absolutely believes Nurmagomedov will come back for one more massive fight, and he already has a few names in mind for the gig.
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White Reveals Potential Fights
Obviously, the biggest name on White’s list is UFC superstar Conor McGregor.
Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor via fourth-round submission at UFC 229 in October 2018 in the best-selling UFC pay-per-view event in history.
There’s a good chance Khabib vs. McGregor 2 would do even better numbers, so White is likely to do everything in his power to make that superfight rematch a reality.
White also mentioned three more names that might fit into the role opposite of Khabib.
McGregor’s next opponent Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier, who Nurmagomedov defeated via third-round submission at UFC 242 last year, could also land the gig by upsetting McGregor at UFC 257.
Two other lightweight stars also stay in White’s mind as potential options: Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson.
“You’re looking at Conor McGregor and [Dustin] Poirier are going to fight,” White said.” We’re talking about Michael Chandler and [Tony] Ferguson fighting. So we’ll see how all these things play out here. Then, we would obviously figure out if he wants to come back, and if he does, one of those guys would definitely be in for the fight.”
But White doesn’t feel the same about retired UFC legend Georges St-Pierre.
“It’s won’t be GSP,” White said.
“The Eagle” has consistently stated over the last few months that facing “GSP” to go 30-0 is the only fight that makes sense to him.
Regardless, White doesn’t seem to want to make that fight happen.
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White on McGregor vs. Poirier 2
White confirmed McGregor vs. Poirier 2 is likely headed to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. The UFC president said all that was still being worked out with local authorities because the company would prefer to have Abu Dhabi host its International Fight Week, which would give fans the opportunity to travel to Fight Island for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
But things haven’t been sorted out on that front yet due to the ever-changing situation with the global pandemic. Still, White expects McGregor vs. Poirier 2 to happen on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
White on Superfights for Valentina Shevchenko
White also confirmed there were “talks” of making a superfight happen between UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and women’s strawweight champion Weili Zhang, assuming both champs win their next fights.
Shevchenko defends her belt against Jennifer Maia at UFC 255 on November 21. Zhang’s next fight has not yet been scheduled, but White revealed earlier this year that the UFC was targeting a contest between Zhang and former champ Rose Namajunas next.
Moreover, White also said he could foresee a third fight on the way between Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes on the horizon.
For her part, Shevchenko told Heavy the same thing earlier this week.
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