When the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Fight Island to kick off its 2020 schedule, UFC president Dana White is expected to have his long-awaited meeting with Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Nurmagomedov announced his retirement in the Octagon following a victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in Abu Dhai on Oct. 24, citing a promise he made to his mother. However, the possibility still exists that “The Eagle” would come back to try and finish his career at 30-0 to fulfill a goal he set with his late father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
“I think his dad wanting him to get to 30-0 is in the back of his mind, and he wants to achieve that because he knew his father wanted it,” White told BT Sport. “But we’ll see. Him and I are getting together next month and talk. He might not want to fight, I don’t know the answer to that. But I’m a little confident that I can talk him into it.”
In anticipation of a potential Nurmagomedov return, the promotion has not vacated the lightweight belt, and White has been adamant that the UFC 257 rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier will not be for an interim title.
White believes the lightweight division will have more clarity at the beginning of next year following his meeting with Nurmagomedov.
“No interim title, I’ll know next month,” White said. “I’ll know when Conor and Poirier are fighting, when he’s [Nurmagomedov] going to fight again, so it all times out perfectly.”
Nurmagomedov recently held a press conference in Russia to announced the launch of his own promotion, Eagle Fighting Championships. The Dagestani star also shut down the possibility of a bout vs. the McGregor-Poirier winner during that session.
“I choked both of them, both were champions, both surrendered to me,” Nurmagomedov said then. “As our proverb says: a horse doesn’t run until the donkey wins. Donkeys don`t even take part in competitions where horses run. I have no interest in fighting against these opponents.”