Following his submission victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, Khabib Nurmagomedov retired at 29-0 in front of a global audience. I heard it. Surely, if you’re reading this, you heard it. The whole world heard it. That is, except for Dana White. Dana White swears that Khabib was just caught up in the emotions of moment and is not actually retired. He referenced private conversations with the lightweight champion to back up that assertion. While we are not privy to what was discussed between White and Nurmagomedov, what is for certain is that Khabib’s tone following these private talks differs quite drastically from White’s.
“You can fight until you’re 40 but there should be a goal,” Nurmagomedov said in a recent Q&A as transcribed by RT Sport. “I had a goal to reach the summit and I got there. Further, I have no competitive interest. “Next year I will graduate. I’d like to [build on] my thesis, do a masters course, dedicate more time to studying. “I’ve bought sheep, I tend to my farm. I’d like to develop in this field a little. I have the bull calves out to feed, I have cows.”
Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier has been confirmed to take place at UFC 257 in January, and with Khabib retiring, it would make sense to many for that bout to be made either an interim lightweight title fight or an official title fight. White insists that the retirement is not final, though, so Khabib will remain the lightweight champion until White comes to terms with the retirement or Khabib ultimately proves White’s optimism right. Khabib has never been one to say one thing privately and another publicly while White has developed the opposite reputation, so it would interesting if White’s word turns out to be the more accurate vision of Khabib’s future.
In White’s defense, Khabib’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, did recently publish a cryptic social media post that read simply “30-0,” and even responded to this very story with a tweet hours ago that read “Fake News,” so it is possible that he and White know something that we don’t and that the usually candid Khabib Nurmagomedov is keeping a big secret close to the vest.
Do you believe Khabib Nurmagomedov will aim for 30-0 before a new lightweight champion is crowned?