UFC president Dana White has once again confirmed that he believes lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight again. “The Eagle” announced he was retiring from the MMA after he defeated then-interim champ Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 254 last month.
Nurmagomedov submitted Gaethje in the second round by triangle choke, extending his professional MMA record to 29-0. During his post-fight interview, The Eagle said he was hanging up his gloves for good.
Since the fight, White has told the media on multiple occasions that he thinks Nurmagomedov will fight more time. And to add fuel to the fire, Nurmagomedov posted a photo on Instagram last week of himself being tested by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). All active fighters on the UFC roster are subjected to drug tests by the agency.
Nurmagomedov wrote, “This is 47 times since 2015, as I have been tested for doping of Usada.
Just think about this number..”
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White Said ‘Khabib Is Going to Fight’ Again
During the Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series post-fight press conference, the UFC president reiterated his thoughts on Nurmagomedov. MMA Junkie’s John Morgan asked White about The Eagle being tested recently by USADA and if he has had a conversation with the Russian about fighting again.
“I didn’t know that,” White said. “I didn’t know that happened, but yeah. I mean, I told you guys that I think he’s going to go 30 [fights]. He’s still testing. Why the hell would you want to test still if you’re not going to fight?”
“He hasn’t committed [to a fight] but I feel like he’s gonna,” White continued. “But, I’m not really pushing him, you know? We talked about it and, you know, he just fought. Let him take some time, spend some time with his family. Spend the holidays, there’s no rush.”
Morgan then asked White about the potential fight with No. 2 ranked lightweight Dustin Poirier and No. 4 ranked Conor McGregor. The two fighters appear to be on a collision course and the fight will seemingly take place on January 23, 2021, although it has not been officially announced. White confirmed that the UFC is looking at hosting the fight in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Morgan asked White if Poirier vs. McGregor could potentially be for the lightweight title.
“No,” White answered. “Khabib is going to fight. I believe he’s gonna. It’s not for the title.”
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Nurmagomedov Spoke to the Media Later About Retirement, White Responded
Speaking with a Russian outlet on Thursday, Nurmagomedov said he has goals he wants to work on outside of fighting and that he has lost his “competitive interest.”
“You can fight until you’re 40, but there should be a goal,” Nurmagomedov via MMA Junkie. “I had a goal to reach the summit, and I got there. Further, I have no competitive interest. Next year I will graduate. I’d like to (build on) my thesis, do a masters course, dedicate more time to studying. I’ve bought sheep, I tend to my farm. I’d like to develop in this field a little. I have the bull calves out to feed. I have cows.”
That same day, White spoke with Barstool Sports’ Robbie Fox. He was asked about Nurmagomedov’s comments. White said that it didn’t sound like Nurmagomedov was saying that he didn’t want to fight, rather Nurmagomedov was saying he has a lot of things going on outside of MMA.
Nurmagomedov Is Currently Ranked at the Top of the Male Pound-for-Pound Rankings
Before taking on Gaethje on October 24, The Eagle sat firmly as the No. 2 ranked pound-for-pound male in the UFC, behind former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. After defeating Gaethje and announcing his retirement, Nurmagomedov had one request for the UFC: rank him No. 1 on the illustrious list.
The following Tuesday, the undefeated champion surpassed Jones for the No. 1 spot.