Khabib could return if Conor impresses him in Abu Dhabi

Khabib Nurmagomedov may return to the octagon. — Twitter
Khabib Nurmagomedov may return to the octagon. — Twitter

Abu Dhabi - White will meet Khabib in Las Vegas to finally decide on the lightweight championship belt

By Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sun 17 Jan 2021, 5:44 PM

MMA phenom Khabib Nurmagomedov could return to the octagon if he is impressed by the performance of any main card fighters, including Conor McGregor, at the UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island next weekend.

Last October, Nurmagomedov, the 29-0 undefeated lightweight champion, shockingly announced his retirement after submitting No.1 ranked Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi. Ever since there has been buzz surrounding his possible comeback to fulfil his late father’s wish of seeing his son hit 30-0.

And during the local promotion UAE Warriors 15 on Friday, UFC president Dana White held a closed-door meeting with Khabib.

After UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs Kattar, the first of triple header events on Fight Island, White said that Khabib is looking for something special from his challengers to be lured back from his retirement.

The Dagestani ‘Eagle’ has taken note of No.3 Charles Oliveira, who nailed No. 5 Tony Ferguson at UFC 256 in December. Khabib will now keenly follow the January 24 UFC 257 main event: No. 4 McGregor versus No. 2 Dustin Poirier and co-main event: No.6 Dan Hooker versus Michael Chandler.

“He (Khabib) and I got together and he’s like: ‘I want to see if somebody really blows me away and impresses me next week’. You got the co-main event and the main event. Obviously, Oliveira looked awesome against Tony Ferguson. So, that’s an interesting fight to him,” White told reporters early on Sunday.

“He wants to see everybody. He wants to see all these guys fight. And we’ll see what these guys do this weekend.”

However, Khabib will not be watching the fights live at the Etihad Arena but flying to the US after Wednesday. And White will meet Khabib in Las Vegas to finally decide on the lightweight championship belt.

White said: “I will fly home on Sunday. I will see him again in Vegas. We will make a decision. The one thing he did say is: ‘I will never hold up the division’. So, he is either going to fight somebody or going to walk away.”

White also clarified that highly anticipated Khabib versus legendary Georges St-Pierre is not happening at all.

“He (Khabib) is not interested in that fight. And neither is GSP. So, that’s over.”

Now, all eyes of MMA fans will be on McGregor-Poirier bout. And White added: “Conor McGregor versus Khabib, the rematch, is a massive fight.”

More news from Local Sports