Retired UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov would like to fight boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
In an interview with Match TV in Russia, Nurmagomedov talked about the possibility of returning from retirement. Although he rejected the idea of fighting for the UFC again, the unbeaten champion admitted that only one fighter could make him get back into the octagon.
Asked if any fighter would motivate him to consider returning to professional fighting, Nurmagomedov made it clear that he does not get excited about any of the names currently available.
"Perhaps Muhammad Ali. But, unfortunately, he is no longer with us," declared Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Even though Khabib Nurmagomedov is not interested in fighting anyone at the moment, he did not fail to admit the quality of the fighters in the UFC lightweight weight class.
For Nurmagomedov, the division which consecrated him into one of the best MMA fighters ever is the most exciting of all nine in the UFC.
"In our weight class, a competitive environment has always reigned. In the UFC, all of the highlights are lightweight. At the moment, I would include Dustin [Poirier], Conor [McGregor], and Islam Makhachev in the top three," said Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Although the Russian grappling master has an infamous feud with Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov still believes that the Irishman is one of the most skilled fighters in MMA.
When asked about his opinion on the future of the belt that he vacated, Nurmagomedov expressed an idea that has been discussed a lot lately.
"The winner of the Conor McGregor versus Dustin Poirier bout should fight for the belt, but I don't know who their opponent will be."
The UFC has not yet confirmed the future of the UFC lightweight championship. However, the promotion's president Dana White has already indicated that an interim champion is not a possibility being considered at this time.
Is Khabib Nurmagomedov fighting in the UFC lightweight division again?
In the same interview with Match TV, Khabib Nurmagomedov reassured the interviewer that he has no intentions of returning to the octagon, even if the UFC is exhaustively trying to convince him.
"I would not like that [return to the UFC]. The desire of the UFC is clear to me, and I do not blame them. I will not hide: they [the UFC] try to persuade me to return," revealed Khabib Nurmagomedov. "They offer conditions, fighters - but they have no one that makes me interested. Soon, in a couple of weeks, we will meet with Dana and discuss."
UFC president Dana White and the retired champion are set to meet in Abu Dhabi next month. The meeting will take place in the same week as UFC 257, which has Conor McGregor versus Dustin Poirier as the night's main event.
While the UFC and White hope to get Khabib Nurmagomedov back to action, other fighters are already on the move to make their case to become the next UFC lightweight champion.
"Dana White and I are constantly in touch - we did not discuss the future of the belt. I think this is because the organization really wants me to resume my career."
Poirier believes that the bout should define the next title contender, but nothing has been announced by the UFC until now. Charles Oliveira is another fighter well positioned for the title shot after his win over Tony Ferguson in UFC 256.
Who do you think will be the next UFC lightweight champion? Sound off in the comments.Published 29 Dec 2020, 05:23 IST