While speaking to Tony Mui of Complex, Dana White asserted that Khabib Nurmagomedov is still a champion at lightweight and will try to sort things out with him when he pays a visit to Las Vegas later this month.
"The one that deserves to be the champion is the one that comes on top in this tournament. Khabib beat Conor (McGregor), Khabib destroyed Dustin (Poirier), Khabib is the man. He's the champ. He's the guy. If you look at the guys that deserve to be there it's whoever's gonna win out of the top five. We've got Poirier, Gaethje, Oliveira, Chandler and you still have Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor in the mix still. We've not (moved on from Khabib). Khabib is the champion. Khabib's coming to Vegas. He and I are going to go to dinner and talk and see what's next."
Khabib Nurmagomedov had a tough time in 2020 as he lost his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov to COVID-19 in July. Following a third successful defense of his title against lightweight contender Justin Gaethje in October 2020, Khabib announced retirement from professional MMA with a perfect 29-0 record as a pro.
Speculations about Khabib Nurmagomedov's return to the famed UFC Octagon have not subsided since his retirement. To the displeasure of the Eagle, MMA media has refused to stop questioning him about his fighting plans.
The UFC and Dana White have held a series of talks with Khabib since his retirement.
Following a closed-door discussion with Khabib in Abu Dhabi, Dana White told UFC color commentator Jon Anik that The Eagle will consider coming out of retirement if the UFC 257 co-main and main event fighters show him "something spectacular" on fight night.
Khabib Nurmagomedov thinks Dustin Poirier deserves to be the lightweight champion
Khabib Nurmagomedov has ventured into other businesses in recent months. During an interview with RT Sport, the former champion expressed interest in focusing on his business ventures and shared his thoughts on who he thinks should fight for the title next.
"Poirier deserves to be champion, that’s my personal opinion. Look at who he’s fought. Jim Miller, Eddie Alvarez, Anthony Pettis, Max Holloway. He’s fought me, Conor – these are all top fighters, maybe fighters who will end up in the UFC Hall of Fame."