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Dana White on Khabib Nurmagomedov: "I think that he's not going to retire"

Dana White believes that Khabib Nurmagomedov could continue his MMA career, despite his recent retirement announcement
Dana White believes that Khabib Nurmagomedov could continue his MMA career, despite his recent retirement announcement
Johny Payne
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 30 Oct 2020, 11:56 IST
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Speaking to Zach Gelb of CBS Sports, UFC President Dana White addressed Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

Dana White asserted that even Nurmagomedov’s coaches were unaware of the fact that The Eagle had planned to announce his retirement after his UFC 254 fight against Justin Gaethje.

Khabib Nurmagomedov entered UFC 254 as the UFC Lightweight Champion and faced Interim titleholder Justin Gaethje in a Championship unification matchup. The fight was regarded by many as an incredibly tough stylistic matchup for Nurmagomedov, particularly owing to Gaethje’s respectable grappling background as an NCAA Division I All-American wrestler as well as The Highlight's vaunted KO power.

Nevertheless, Nurmagomedov went on to dominate Gaethje and stop the latter via technical submission courtesy of a triangle choke in round two of their fight.

Following his spectacular victory over a fellow elite fighter like Gaethje, Nurmagomedov sent shockwaves throughout the combat sports world by announcing his decision to retire from the sport of MMA with an undefeated professional MMA record of 29-0.

The ensuing days have witnessed a considerable amount of speculation as to whether or not Nurmagomedov’s retirement was a largely emotional decision owing to the unfortunate passing of his father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov earlier this year.

Certain sections of the MMA world believe that Khabib Nurmagomedov might eventually recover from the personal tragedy and consider returning to MMA competition.

Dana White weighed in on the latest developments after Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement. In his conversation with Zach Gelb, Dana White stated –

“No. Nobody knew (about the UFC 254 fight being Khabib Nurmagomedov’s last). Not even his coach. Nobody knew.”
“I was sitting there going, ‘Oh, my God! You’ve got to be kidding me.’ But I’ll tell you this, and I haven’t told anybody this s**t, Khabib (Nurmagomedov) and I have been talking. And, you know, he was completely emotional that night when he got through that fight.”
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“I have a feeling that he might go for 30-0…I think that he’s not going to retire. You know his (Khabib Nurmagomedov’s) dad wanted him to get to 30-0. And I think he wants to honor his dad’s wish.” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)

Dana White had something special planned for Khabib Nurmagomedov

In the lead-up to UFC 254, Dana White had noted that he had something special planned for Khabib Nurmagomedov provided that the he defeats Justin Gaethje.

Upon being questioned regarding what special plans he had for Khabib Nurmagomedov, Dana White revealed that he hadn’t even told Nurmagomedov about the special plans and didn’t tell him even after the conclusion of UFC 254 because The Eagle retired.

Dana White continued, that as of now, he’s not going to publicly say anything regarding the special plans.

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Who’d you like to see Khabib Nurmagomedov face in a potential comeback fight? Sound off in the comments.

Published 30 Oct 2020, 11:56 IST
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