It was not easy for Khabib Nurmagomedov to walk away from the sport with the UFC lightweight championship removed from his waist.
The UFC lightweight championship is officially vacated after Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement has finally been recognized by Dana White and the UFC. It took multiple meetings and months of speculation on if Nurmagomedov would reverse course, but we now have our answers at lightweight. A new champion will be crowned at UFC 262 when Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler compete for the title.
Before the fight was made official, Dana White & Khabib Nurmagomedov met one last time. Making an appearance on the UFC 260 weigh-in show, Khabib provided details on what was said in the latest meeting between himself and Dana White.
“In the last meeting, he come and he say, ‘Hey, what we gonna do?’ I say ‘Nothing changed. Nothing changed. And just my opinion, lightweight division have to go on.’ I was like, ‘I don’t want to hold division. My decision (hasn’t changed). And I hope you gonna understand me because if someone don’t want to fight, if someone finished, you have to leave him alone. What do you think about this?’ Nurmagomedov narrated with a smile.
“And Dana Say, OK, I have call. He call and he say, (mimicking phone held to ear) ‘This fight is official.’ He talk about Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler, and he was waiting for my answer.’”
Khabib’s Stinging Realization Of Having LW Title Vacated
Khabib admitted that it’s not easy to say no to Dana White. White could try persuading with a friendly disposition or he could play hard ball. But in the end, Khabib describes the conversation as an “honest, real talk” between men. After Oliveira/Chandler was finalized, the now former lightweight champion admitted to a tinge of bitterness that accompanied the realization that his reign and career were officially over.
“After meeting, I feel a little bit sad because officially they (vacated) lightweight title,” Khabib confessed. “Even (though) I’m retired, inside my heart, I really love competition. I really love this.”
Khabib recently reiterated his reasons for retiring are out of consideration to his mother and because he feels he has achieved everything he set out to do. At only 32 and with a love for competition that he admits is still burning, a return for The Eagle down the line would certainly be on the milder end of the “never say never” spectrum.
What are your thoughts on Khabib’s comments and thoughts on his most recent meeting with Dana White?