“He and I are going to sit down next month. We’re going to find out how persuasive I can be,” those were the words from Dana White to TMZ back in early December.
“I’ll bet on me every time,” he added, speaking to his confidence of bringing Khabib around on his abrupt retirement plans that appear to have left the promotion entirely blindsided.
A little more than a month later and it doesn’t appear that bet will cash.
“There are two fights coming up, and if these guys can do something special, Khabib will fight them,” the UFC president told fans during the UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Kattar broadcast. If that statement rang hollow, though, recent footage from the latest Looking for a Fight taping gives a little more insight into White’s negotiation tactics.
“This fight with Poirier is trending bigger than the fight with you and Conor on PPV,” White told Nurmagomedov while the two men were seated cageside for a regional event. “Imagine what you and Conor would do in another fucking fight. Just sayin. I’m just sayin!”
dana just won't leave khabib alone lmfao pic.twitter.com/YahLxIQJrq— *°:⋆ₓₒleonₓₒ⋆:°* (@leonzenegger) January 22, 2021
UFC 257 goes down this Saturday, January 23rd in Abu Dhabi. The headliner will feature Dustin Poirier’s long-awaited rematch with Conor McGregor. A bout between former Bellator champ and UFC newcomer Michael Chandler and Dan Hooker is set for the co-main event. Khabib Nurmagomedov will reportedly not be in attendance.