In a recent interview, Khabib Nurmagomedov sounded off on UFC president Dana White's comments about a possible return to the octagon for the undefeated Russian fighter, stressing that he still has no plans of making a comeback months after announcing his retirement at UFC 254 in October.
As quoted by MMA Mania, Nurmagomedov recently spoke to Russian network Sport24, where he stated that he does not intend to compete in mixed martial arts again. This, as noted, is regardless of what happens at the main event of UFC 257, which will see the lightweight's longtime rival Conor McGregor making his comeback against Dustin Poirier.
"I have achieved almost everything in this sport and there isn't someone I would like to fight now. 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 interview came days after White seemed to confirm that Nurmagomedov is interested in returning to the octagon, provided that McGregor and Poirier do "something special" at UFC 257 this Sunday, January 24, at the promotion's "Fight Island" in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. McGregor himself had previously announced his retirement -- the third time he had done so -- before revealing in November that he intends to compete again sometime this year.
Aside from the two aforementioned fighters, White noted that "The Eagle" is supposedly interested in facing Michael Chandler or Dan Hooker, both of whom are also scheduled at Sunday's event, per an earlier article from MMA Mania. Likewise, Charles Oliveira was mentioned as another lightweight who could change Nurmagomedov's mind and convince him to unretire.
According to the outlet, White further claimed that Nurmagomedov told him he will be keeping a close eye on what happens at UFC 257.
"He said, 'I would never tie up the division, hold the belt, and keep the belt away from anybody else," the promoter continued. "If these guys do something spectacular, show me something spectacular, and make me want to come back and fight.'"
After a difficult 2020 where he dealt with various setbacks, including injuries, canceled bouts, and the death of his father from COVID-19, Nurmagomedov officially retired right after he successfully defended his lightweight title by submitting interim champion Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. The 32-year-old ended his career with a perfect 29-0 record, and at that time, he said that he was honoring his mother's request by choosing to walk away from the sport, according to Yahoo Sports.