On multiple occasions Dana White has claimed that Khabib Nurmagomedov isn’t actually retired, but each time, the undefeated lightweight champion responded and reiterated that he really isn’t returning.
Dustin Poirier is set to face Conor McGregor in January, and the former interim lightweight champion made his case for fighting for the undisputed title if Khabib is truly hanging up the gloves.
“I think if Khabib’s retired and not coming back, then I’m next in line for the title shot, and this could be the title fight,” Poirier told MMA Junkie. “This could be for the undisputed belt. I think that’d make sense. Dana’s saying one thing, Khabib’s saying another. Who knows what the truth is? Time will tell.
“The division has to move on,” Poirier said. “The only thing that makes me think the guy is serious is, first of all, he doesn’t seem like a bullsh*tter, and if he said he’s done right after the fight and his father just passed away, it’s an emotional moment. You just got another title defense, you get to go back home to your family. You might say those things right after. But a month later, you’re still singing the same tune? Maybe the guy’s mind is somewhere else. Maybe he is moving forward. Maybe, like he said, he’s accomplished everything he set out to do. I don’t know. But if he is done, somebody has to fight for that belt.”
Poirier has a good point about the division moving on, giving Khabib’s recent statements. Interestingly enough though, while Khabib repeatedly stated that he is retired, he did tease a meeting with the UFC President.
“See you soon @danawhite,” Khabib cryptically wrote on Instagram.
Will Khabib actually return? For what it’s worth, he has a press conference in Moscow, Russia on December 2 to address “new projects that have been and will be announced.”