UFC 257 goes down on Sat., Jan. 23, 2021, and it’s a pretty hype event featuring Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier. But almost on par with the hype for that event is the hype surrounding a near-mythical meeting between UFC President, Dana White, and retired Lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Khabib promised his mother he was done fighting now that his father had passed. White thinks the champ should give him one more match to hit 30-0. For his father’s sake. Whose interpretation of his father’s wishes will Khabib follow?
“I don’t know how the meeting’s going to go,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto in a recent interview. “I’m obviously meeting with him because I believe he should be fighting again. I mean, look at what he did to Justin Gaethje. Look at what he’s done to every opponent he has faced.”
“There’s the ... I think he’s got — like when I thought Cormier should stay,” he continued. “I still think they’re the best in the world. And then there’s always the argument, ‘Well it’s never bad to go out on top.’ And when you talk about money ... Khabib has money beyond belief. This guy doesn’t ever have to work again. And he still has the ability to do things to make unbelievable money. He’s in a very unique position as a fighter.”
“So yeah, I don’t even know if I answered your question. I don’t even remember what the question was. I think he should fight again and I’m going to press him as hard as I can for one more.”
Is it just me, or did White just give a list of reasons Khabib should stay retired? Cormier recently admitted his back was shot for his last few fights, and he shouldn’t have kept going, suffering back to back losses to Stipe Miocic. As White also mentioned, it’s also never bad to go out on top. Khabib does have money beyond belief. And because he’s on top, he still has the ability to make unbelievable money.
At least White has put himself into Khabib’s mindset, which is the only way he’ll be able to figure out how to get Khabib back.
Unfortunately, he can’t stop thinking “Khabib vs. McGregor 2,” which is something Khabib has deemed beneath him. Let’s get back into the mind of “The Eagle” again. Agreeing to that fight elevates McGregor into a place where he was a worthy adversary deserving of a rematch. That’s not something Nurmagomedov is willing to do for the guy who called his father a coward and his wife a towel.
But, White will be pushing for a McGregor rematch nonetheless.
“No matter what you think of Conor personally, Conor McGregor is not only one of the best in the world, he’s one of the best to ever do it,” White said. “And right now he’s as focused as he’s ever been. I don’t know if this will be the same Conor after the Poirier fight. Like you said, Conor goes [up and down]. But if this Conor sticks around for the next year, how do you not do Khabib vs. Conor again. The division’s stacked with tough guys, and the reality is if Khabib retires, whoever’s the highest ranked guy at the time is will face Conor if Conor beats Poirier. And fight Conor for the title.”
Will Conor taking Khabib’s title be enough to draw Khabib back to stop it? We have serious doubts. Now, if only there was another fight the Dagestani champion (and his father) wanted ....