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Khabib Nurmagomedov contradicts Dana White's UFC return claims: 'Fights are not in these plans'

Cassandra Negley
·3 min read
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In direct contrast to what UFC president Dana White said over the weekend, Khabib Nurmagomedov said he does not plan to return to fighting.

The reigning lightweight title holder reiterated his stance on retirement after cornering his cousin Umar Nurmagomedov at UFC Fight Island 8. He told Sport24 he has no plans to come back to fighting, and his decision does not hinge on what happens between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier as White alleged.

Khabib stands firm on retirement stance

Nurmagomedov told Sports24, via MMA Mania:

“I have achieved almost everything in this sport and there isn’t someone I would like to fight now,” Nurmagomedov said. “A lot of people don’t want to understand my side. I don’t see that yet. I train for myself. If we talk about all my business projects that are planned, fights are not in these plans.”

The fighter shocked the sports world when he announced his retirement after UFC 254 in October. He is 29-0 in his career after a submission of Justin Gaethje. Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap, died of COVID-19 months prior to the fight and he cited his mother asking him not to fight any longer.

“My mother is the most precious thing I have left,” Nurmagomedov told Sport24. “You won’t push me to do things that will disappoint my mother. I don’t even have plans for UFC in the near future. I don’t even have any thoughts about preparing for a fight. I saw how Umar was preparing now and I thought, Alhamdulillah (praise be to God) I left it behind.”

In the three months since, White has said multiple times he believes Nurmagomedov will be back. At the very least, White said, the fighter will return for one more victory to reach 30-0, a desirable mark of his father’s.

White hints at possible Khabib return

Khabib Nurmagomedov, left, listens to Dana White
Khabib Nurmagomedov said he doesn't plan to return to UFC, contrasting what UFC president Dana White said over the weekend. (AP Photo/John Locher)

White teased a big announcement on ABC during the main card on Saturday after meeting in person with Nurmagomedov for the first time since his retirement. But it turned out to be mostly nothing in terms of news.

White did say that Nurmagomedov might reconsider if “something spectacular” happens in either of the two lightweight fights on Jan. 23.

“He said, ‘If these guys do something spectacular, show me something spectacular, and make me want to come back and fight,’” White said. “I have the feeling if somebody delivers, and it could be on the main event or the co-main event ... ”

Poirer fights McGregor and Michael Chandler faces Dan Hooker in the co-main event. White said Charles Oliveira was also included in the group that could do something to prompt Nurmagomedov to come back.

But that all appears to be false as Nurmagomedov said himself he has no plans for the UFC.

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