Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from UFC last week, but Dana White believes he'll be back for one final fight. The UFC president recently talked to Zach Gelb of CBS Sports and told him he has spoken to the UFC legend. White said Nurmagomedov retired after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 because of the emotions he was feeling that night.
"I wasn't, I sitting there going oh my god, you have to be kidding me," White said. "But, I'll tell you this, and I haven't told anybody this yet, Khabib and I have been talking. He was completely emotional that night when he got through that fight, I have a feeling he might go for 30-0." White said nobody knew about Nurmagomedov's decision to retire. He then talked about Nurmagomedov's father, who died from COVID-19 complications in July.
Dana told The Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio that he and @TeamKhabib have been talking & he expects Khabib to return & go for 30-0.October 29, 2020
"His dad wanted him to get to 30-0," White stated. "I think he wants to honor his dad's wish." Gelb then asked White if he has something special for Nurmagomedov. "I haven't told him that because he was going to retire," White explained. "I'm not going to say anything publicly." After the fight, Nurmagomedov revealed he was retiring because of his father's death.
"This was my last fight," Nurmagomedov said following his victory. "There's no way I'm going to come here without my father. ... After what happened with my father — when UFC called me about Justin — I talked with my mother [for] three days, 'Should I go fight without my father?' I promised her it was gonna be my last fight. And if I give my word, I have to follow it."
Nurmagomedov, 32, leaves UFC as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the organization. He won the UFC Lightweight Championship in 2018 after defeating Al Iaquinta by unanimous decision. He then defended the title by beating Conor McGregor at UFC 229 via submission. Last year, Nurmagomedov defended and unified the Lightweight Championship by beating Dustin Poirier at UFC 242.