UFC president Dana White believes Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight again, the lightweight champion insists he is retired and his manager is confusing the issue still further.
Khabib announced his retirement from professional competition after beating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 last month, bringing his career to an end with a perfect record of 29-0.
However, the UFC has not stripped him of his lightweight title and White hopes and expects the Dagestani to step into the Octagon again.
‘No, Khabib’s going to fight,’ White said. ‘I believe he’s going to.’
Khabib has addressed the situation, though, saying he has absolutely no plans to fight again, no matter what White says.
‘There will always be rumours about my comeback,’ Nurmagomedov told RT Sport. ‘Because Dana White or other promoters who could replace him in the future will always want me to fight.
‘It’s all about big money, views and media coverage, so I am sure they will keep chasing me. You have just finished one fight and fans right away start looking forward to your next one.
‘They always want the show to go on. But I have no plans to continue fighting.
‘What if I fight one more time? They will have another contender for me who is on a 7-8 win streak. Another wrestler with great striking.
‘They are very good at raising heroes, building up big stars – it’s just a never-ending story.’
Khabib compared the possibility of fighting on for another 10 years, like fellow Russian MMA superstar Fedor Emelianenko has done, but just doesn’t see the point.
‘Of course, I could possibly fight until I’m 40 – or even 45, like Fedor,’ the Eagle said. ‘But there must be a purpose to it, a goal.
‘My goal was to reach the summit. I did it – so I don’t see any competitive interest to stay in the game. Who else is there to fight for me? And even if there is one, my mission has been accomplished.
‘Of course, I am in my prime and there is still tons of money I could earn. But I had a different goal. And as for money, from now on we will earn it somewhere else.’
It seems pretty cut and dried, but Khabib’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, confused matters somewhat by responding to a tweet quoting Khabib’s plans to stay retired with the words: ‘Fake news.’
It is certainly not out of the question for Khabib to put the gloves on once more, but he is doing his best to throw people off that scent for now.
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