Monday, October 3, 2022

White: Khabib Even Turned Down Grappling Return

UFC President Dana White has revealed another failed attempt to draw former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov out of retirement.

Khabib, who is usually spoken about when the topic of the greatest of all time comes up, departed the sport as an active competitor on top in 2020 following a third successful title defense. Having previously dispatched Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier via submission, “The Eagle” sent Justin Gaethje to the same fate in Abu Dhabi at UFC 254.

With that, Khabib extended his perfect record to 29-0, ensuring that he left his gloves in the cage with an unblemished résumé intact.

Despite appearing committed to his decision, citing the death of his father during the pandemic and his mother’s wishes as the reasoning behind an early exit from the sport, one man has not appeared to give up on a potential Khabib comeback.

That is, until now.

White Admits Defeat After Khabib’s Rejected Grappling Offer

During an appearance on The Jim Rome Show earlier this month, UFC President Dana White provided a fresh update on Khabib’s status, and it wasn’t a positive one for fans of “The Eagle.”

White revealed that he recently made another offer to the Dagestani, which could have seen the legendary fighter return for a grappling contest — not something the UFC is typically associated with.

But having had his approach firmly rejected, White has conceded that Khabib is finished as a competitor.

“It’s funny that you asked or it’s weird that you asked me that question, actually,” White said. “I just reached out to him recently to see if he’s interested in something and he was like, ‘I’m retired, brother. I’m done.’ I don’t think Khabib ever comes back.

“It was something different, I was trying to get him to do a grappling match. He’s like, ‘I’m done. I’m retired…’ I think that when his father passed away, that was a wrap for him and he’s just focused on training other guys and helping them become world champions,” White added. (h/t Sportskeeda MMA)

Should the approach have been accepted, it stands to reason that the planned opponent would be in for a tough night at the office. Even in retirement, Khabib doesn’t appear to have lost a step on the mats, as Luke Rockhold found out the hard way earlier this year

Interestingly, White’s revelation comes a few months after another retired great, Georges St-Pierre, left the door open to a grappling match. In an exclusive interview with MMA News, the Canadian laid out the conditions for a date on the mats with Khabib.

“I don’t know. I mean, listen, if it’s well organized… If there is some event that is well organized, is novelty fights or something, then maybe, why not?” St-Pierre said. “I’m still in the entertainment world.

“I’m in great shape. I train still like a professional athlete. I still get it, you know what I mean? Even some of the guys, sometimes they tell me, ‘Ay, are you preparing a comeback?’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m 40 years old.'”

With that said, perhaps White’s offer to Khabib came with St-Pierre’s willingness in mind.

How do you think a grappling match between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Georges St-Pierre would play out?

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