Khabib Discusses The Future Of The UFC Lightweight Division

UFC, Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov has once again said that he doesn’t plan on competing in MMA anytime soon, and he is focused on his other projects.

Khabib announced his retirement last October at UFC 254, where he successfully defended his title against Justin Gaethje by submitting him in the second round. Since then, Dana White has been persistently chasing him in hopes of bringing him back to the Octagon, and although he potentially closed the door on Nurmagomedov’s return after UFC 257, the UFC president hasn’t fully given up yet.

In Contact With Dana

Speaking to Match TV (as translated by RT Sport), Khabib revealed that he has been constantly in contact with Dana, and that he believes the UFC president is going to share details of the conversation they had last week with the media soon.

“I’m focused on my own big projects, four or five of them. I have to spend time on them,” Khabib said. “As for my career as a fighter, I don’t want to go into details. Dana’s an honest person, we always had an honest relationship. I think he’ll let the media know the message that I sent him a week ago. It’s not a secret, I just told him how I’d like things to develop, not only related to me, but the lightweight division in general. I told [Dana] I don’t want the division to be held up. But on the other hand, fighters have only just been in action and people already understand in general who we’ll see fighting for the title.”

Lightweight Title Fight

As per reports, the UFC is leaning towards a rubber match in May between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor, who are tied at 1-1 after ‘The Diamond’ avenged his 2014 loss by finishing the Irishman in the second round in the main event at UFC 257. Many speculate that the trilogy between the two fighters is going to be for the lightweight title.

While Khabib is also aware that the UFC is planning a title fight in May or June, he doesn’t know who is going to fight for it. Dana is going to make a final decision only after meeting with ‘The Eagle’ at the end of this month.

“I know they’re already making plans, I think for around May or June for a title fight,” Khabib revealed. “But between who? Dana told me he isn’t done yet. I can say that. When I told him the lightweight division needs to move on, he told me he isn’t done. He said to me, ‘When you fly to Vegas at the end of February, we’ll sit down and talk. Dana needs to make some kind of decision. But whatever the decision, I’ll agree with it.”

‘New Turns’

While Dana is still holding out hope that Khabib is going to reconsider his decision, Nurmagomedov is very clear that he is not coming back, as he predicts new turns in the lightweight division in the summer.

“Poirier deserves to be champion, that’s my personal opinion,” Khabib said. “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.

“I think intrigue will appear in the lightweight division as soon as they decide the title fight and eliminator. At the moment, it’s held up and not clear what Dana’s thinking. I think it’s going to be on fire in the lightweight division this summer. The lightweight division has always been the most competitive, the most interesting, with big stars. It will take new turns this summer… a new, younger, generation is already coming. Plus there’s [Michael] Chandler, [Charles] Oliveira, Poirier, Gaethje, a lot of good fighters. With that mix, it will be interesting this summer and towards the end of the year.”

Should Khabib Nurmagomedov remain retired, which two lightweight contenders deserve to fight for the lightweight title?

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