Khabib met UFC president Dana White in Abu Dhabi ahead of UFC Fight Island 7 to discuss his intention. White himself broke the news on the long-awaited decision before the nights' main event between Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar.
But to everyone's surprise and disappointment, the announcement did not reveal much. Khabib chose to extend the mystery by saying that he will be "looking for something spectacular" at UFC 257, hinting that he could make a return if impressed by one of the performances.
Talking to BT Sport's Adam Catterall, Conor McGregor shared his reasoning into thinking that Khabib will not resume his UFC career:
"It's not really an announcement. It sounded like a 'no,' which is what it is. He doesn't want to get in there against me, and that's for damn sure. You can see it all over. And so, it is what it is," said Conor McGregor.
The 'Notorious One' said he does not care if Khabib chooses to remain retired, as there is plenty of competition at the lightweight division right now. And Conor McGregor wants to compete.
"I like the landscape at the minute. I'm not really focused on him. Although I want that rematch, there are plenty of great fights, and I'm not in the business of waiting around. So, after this, if these negotiations start faltering into the end end of the year... I want to go again," said Conor McGregor. "This is how this whole thing started. They wanted me as an alternate for the Tony [Ferguson] [versus] Khabib fight and, you know, go through a camp and then maybe fighting. And this was months away. I was like, 'man, I'm ready to go. There are dates in March; there are dates in April; dates in May.' I was held for something that never came to light, you know what I mean? I don't want to get held again. I want to compete. Competition is what I'm after this year."
UFC 257 takes place next Saturday, January 23, and will have two lightweight bouts as the night's main events. The first will see Michael Chandler's debut against Dan Hooker, and the second will have UFC superstar Conor McGregor rematching Dustin Poirier.
Conor McGregor praises the UFC lightweight division contenders
In the same interview with BT Sport, Conor McGregor celebrated that there are many exciting fighters around to compete at the 155 pounds weight class.
Conor McGregor had already approved a fight with Tony Ferguson and said he wanted to have his fight trilogy with Nate Diaz for the lightweight championship. Now, the former UFC double champion hailed other names as top contenders.
"I'm happy with the landscape. There's a co-main event, a good solid co-main event on this card [Michael Chandler versus Dan Hooker]. You know, Diaz talking about 155 lbs again. There's [Charles] Oliveira, there's [Justin] Gaethje. There's loads there and then, and then, you know, if your man has the courage to step in... I don't think he has the courage. [A rematch] takes courage to do. Look at Diaz, a real fighter, stepping straight away. If you're so confident, why not? What's the problem? It's a mental break, and that's what I feel happened. So it is what it is. I'm not going to pursue it. I'm here. I'm ready for competition. Line them up," said Conor McGregor.
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