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New Khabib interview contradicts Dana White’s claim of UFC return — ‘I left it behind’

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White refused to strip Khabib Nurmagomedov of the lightweight title after meeting with the Dagestani champion last weekend in Abu Dhabi. That’s because White is convinced “The Eagle” will fly again if one of the contending lightweights can do “something spectacular” at UFC 257 on “Fight Island.”

Or at least that was the story he gave the mixed martial arts (MMA) media.

But according to Nurmagomedov, who was on location to corner cousin and undefeated bantamweight Umar Nurmagomedov at UFC Fight Island 8, he has no plans to make his return to combat sports, regardless of what happens with longtime rival Conor McGregor in his Jan. 23 pay-per-view (PPV) headliner against Dustin Poirier.

“I have achieved almost everything in this sport and there isn’t someone I would like to fight now,” Nurmagomedov told Sport24. “A lot of people don’t want to understand my side. I don’t see that yet. I train for myself. If we talk about all my business projects that are planned, fights are not in these plans.”

Nurmagomedov retired from MMA after submitting Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 last October. 2020 was a hard year for “The Eagle,” who not only suffered multiple injuries and fight cancellations, but also the loss of his father. That’s why the 29-0 lightweight made a promise to his mother to call it a career.

“My mother is the most precious thing I have left,” Nurmagomedov continued. “You won’t push me to do things that will disappoint my mother. I don’t even have plans for UFC in the near future. I don’t even have any thoughts about preparing for a fight. I saw how Umar was preparing now and I thought, Alhamdulillah (praise be to God) I left it behind.”

When (or if) Nurmagomedov surrenders his UFC title remains to be seen.