For months, UFC President Dana White has been saying that he expects that Khabib Nurmagomedov, the lightweight champion, will return to the Octagon. That’s no longer what he said after Conor McGregor was knocked out by Dustin Poirier on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi.
White spoke with Khabib earlier in the week, again telling the media that, depending on the outcome of the UFC 257 main and co-main event bouts, he believed his champion would fight again.
Former Bellator champion Michael Chandler confirmed his arrival at the Octagon by taking out Dan Hooker in two minutes and 30 seconds, while Poirier knocked out McGregor in the headliner.
Neither seems to be a result that would entice Khabib back into the Octagon from 29-0 to 30-0 to try and lift his spotless record.
“I did talk to Khabib (tonight),” White said at the UFC 257 Post-Fight Press Conference.
“He told me, ‘Dana, be honest with yourself. I’m so many levels above these guys. I beat these guys.’ I don’t know, but it doesn’t sound very positive. And what he said was, I won’t hold the division up.”
White also eventually publicly admitted that his assumption that Khabib will return to the Octagon was his idea, not Khabib’s.nger believes Khabib will fight again after UFC 2577.
“He already retired. He’s basically retired,” White said. “I’m the one that’s been trying to get him to do one more.”
White said that despite eventually coming to the conclusion that Khabib probably won’t return to the Octagon, he didn’t place a timetable on Khabib’s final decision.
White sees them competing for the belt if Khabib does not return, with Poirier and Chandler having just fought and won at UFC 257, so he has a bit of time to let his champion put a stamp on his retirement.