Though he announced his intent to retire following his last fight, Khabib Nurmagomedov remains the current UFC lightweight champion. He foresees the winner of the UFC 257 headliner between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier fighting for his belt.
Khabib, however, doesn’t seem to think that he will still be in possession of said belt when that happens.
UFC president Dana White seems to think he can convince Khabib, whose record currently stands at 29-0, to fight one more time to try and notch a 30th victory in his career.
“Dana and I are in touch and did not discuss the moment with the vacant belt. This is because they want me to continue,” Khabib said in a recent interview with Match TV, according to an RT Sport transcription.
“This is clear. I have been in the league for nine years and have not lost. I have a story, a big fanbase.”
Still, Khabib sounded as if there wasn’t much that White could offer that would keep him from following through on his promise to his mother to retire after he defeated Justin Gaethje in the UFC 254 main event in October.
While the UFC 257 main event between McGregor and Poirier is not for the title or even an interim belt, Khabib believes the winner will eventually go on to fight for the title.
He named McGregor, Poirier, and Islam Makhachev, as the three best fighters in the UFC lightweight division, but did not say whom he thought would eventually face the winner of UFC 257 for the belt.
UFC 257 is the focal point of the promotion’s return to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, where the UFC will kick off its 2021 schedule. The promotion will hold three events over an eight-day span beginning with a Fight Nights on Saturday, Jan. 16; Wednesday, Jan. 20; and then UFC 257 on Saturday, Jan. 23.