After moving to 29-0 back in October, Khabib Nurmagomedov abruptly retired from the UFC following the death of his father earlier in 2020. While he stepped away from the fight game, the UFC hadn’t formally acknowledged Nurmagomedov’s decision, leaving the door open for his return and a shot at the coveted 30-0 record.
On Friday, UFC president Dana White met with Nurmagomedov and promised to announce how that meeting would affect next weekend’s Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier main event. On Saturday, White did just that, announcing Nurmagomedov wants to be impressed by next weekend’s card, leaving the door open to his return.
— UFC (@ufc) January 16, 2021
McGregor hasn’t fought since he TKO’d Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds in January. With no opportunity to make good on his promise to fight three times in 2020, he settled for a rematch against Poirier seven years in the making at UFC 257 next Saturday. McGregor’s last fight against Poirier ended with “Notorious” earning a first-round knockout. McGregor has been angling for another shot at Nurmagomedov after their explosive 2018 showdown.
In the co-main event, Dan Hooker will face off with UFC newcomer Michael Chandler. White acknowledged during his interview on UFC Fight Night on Saturday that any four of the lightweight contenders next weekend could earn Nurmagomedov’s attention in addition to Charles Oliveira, who demolished Tony Ferguson in December.