Despite Khabib Nurmagomedov cementing his retirement, UFC president Dana White says he is still the lightweight champion.
After Nurmagomedov submitted Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 to defend his belt he announced his retirement from the sport. However, White made it clear that the Dagestani native would return despite the champ confirming in a recent meeting he is done.
“No, we have not,” White said to Complex. “Khabib is the champion. Khabib’s coming to Vegas. He and I are going to go to dinner and talk and see what’s next.”
Although many fans have already moved on from Khabib Nurmagomedov, it appears Dana White won’t. The UFC president wants him to return for one more.
Nurmagomedov has also said in his own interviews he doesn’t want to hold up the lightweight division. He has also said Dustin Poirier deserves to be the champion but White doesn’t seem to agree.
“I saw some talk that Dustin should be the champion. Well, Dustin just got smoked by Khabib,” White said to ESPN. “Conor got smoked by Khabib. [Justin] Gaethje got smoked by Khabib. They’re gonna have to fight it out. [The Nos. 1-7-ranked lightweights] will fight this thing out; we’ll find out who the champ is. It’s the best way. Nobody can deny when Khabib does step away, who the best is in the division because they will have all fought.
“And [Nurmagomedov] can say whatever he wants. Khabib can say whatever he wants,” White added. “I believe if this thing plays out, and the right guy, however the fights happen, he’ll fight him. I truly believe that.”
White has also revealed he and Khabib Nurmagomedov will meet again in Las Vegas in the coming weeks. What will come out of that meeting is still uncertain but there is no question White will hope Nurmagomedov finally agrees to do one more fight.