Monday, January 17, 2022

Khabib Says Dana White & UFC Still Haven’t Given Up On His UFC Return

Dana White has still not given up on trying to entice Khabib Nurmagomedov back to the Octagon.

Nurmagomedov retired from MMA undefeated as the undisputed UFC lightweight champion after defending his belt successfully for the third time against Justin Gaethje in October 2020. However, that has not stopped the UFC president from trying to coax the Dagestani native back into the cage on a few occasions.

In a recent interview with UFC Russia, Nurmagomedov revealed that White and the whole UFC HQ in Las Vegas have still not given up on his potential return after all this time since his retirement. The 29-0 fighter was quick to assert that he had already made his decision to retire having accomplished everything he wanted as a fighter and had no desire to return to MMA.

When asked about the time Dana realized that he was not coming back, “The Eagle” revealed that White didn’t acknowledge his retirement demonstrating the UFC president’s determination to not give up despite Nurmagomedov’s claims to retire.

“He didn’t realize it, and he didn’t give up,” said Nurmagomedov. “If he was a fighter, then he would never give up. He could be knocked (out) or choked, but he would never give up on his own. I am positive…”

Nurmagomedov revealed that even just a few weeks ago, White asked Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz on why the undefeated fighter doesn’t name a price for his comeback despite money not being an issue for his retirement.

“Abdelaziz called me a few weeks ago,” said Khabib. “He asked me, ‘Do you know [what] Dana [White] asked me? And told me, ‘Why does Khabib never ask me how much money I can offer him for his return?’ I asked Abdelaziz, ‘This is the question for me through you or what?’

“Look, I am not really interested,” Nurmagomedov continued. “We went down this road. I said and did everything I wanted. I made the decision. However, he [Dana White] is not giving up. Not even Dana but the entire UFC HQ in Las Vegas. They assume I inflate my price or prepare my agenda for further negotiations…”

After his successful title defense against Gaethje at UFC 254, Nurmagomedov called it time on his professional MMA career in his post-fight interview inside the cage, keeping a promise to his mother that he would retire after the fight. It seems that no amount of money would lure the retired legend back to compete, as his choice to retire was due to family reasons.

Earlier in 2020, tragedy struck as the father and personal coach of Khabib, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov died from complications from COVID-19. Nurmagomedov stated that he would no longer fight without his father in his corner who was present with him in his second successful title defence against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in September 2019.

“I believe they will understand me and my choice eventually,” Nurmagomedov concluded.

Do you think it is wrong for Dana White to continue pursuing Khabib to return despite retiring on family grounds?

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Kenny Lee
Aspiring Sports Journalist mostly focused on covering MMA. Writer for MMA News. Master Of Arts in Sports Journalism.