Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov stated that UFC president Dana White and the UFC itself are still pursuing Khabib and want him to come back and fight again in the UFC.
Khabib Nurmagomedov faced Gaethje in a title unification bout on 24th October 2020 in the main event at UFC 254. Nurmagomedov won the fight in the second round as he submitted Gaethje via triangle choke.
In his post-fight interview, Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from mixed martial arts. He explained that he had promised his mother that he would not continue to fight without his late father, “No way I’m going to come here without my father. It was first time after what happened with my father, when UFC called me about Justin, I talk with my mother three days. She doesn’t want me to go fight without my father but I promised her it was going to be my last fight. If I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.”
Even after announcing his retirement UFC kept pursuing him for many months. Despite attempted negotiations to bring him back for one more fight, UFC president Dana White announced on 19 March 2021 that he had affirmed Nurmagomedov’s decision to retire and that the UFC Lightweight Championship had been officially vacated.
Khabib Nurmagomedov says UFC still wants him back
Speaking to UFC Russia, Nurmagomedov said that UFC and Dana White still keeps checking on him and would love if he comes back to the UFC.
“You know, a few days ago, I don’t know whether I can go on record, (Ali) Abdelaziz called me a few weeks ago. He asked me, ‘Do you know what Dana White asked me?’ and told me (that Dana said), ‘Why does Khabib never ask me how much money I can offer for his return?’ I asked Abdelaziz, ‘This is the question for me through you or what?’ And he told me, ‘Nah, Dana just asked,’” Nurmagomedov said.
“Look, I am really not interested. We went down this road. I said and did everything I wanted. I made the decision. However, (White) is not giving up. Not even Dana but the entire UFC headquarters in Las Vegas. They assume I inflate my price or prepare my agenda for future negotiations. I left, ‘But come on guys, change my mind give me money or something.’ It feels like that for me. I believe they will understand me and my choice eventually,” Nurmagomedov said.
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