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Who will Khabib Nurmagomedov fight next?

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After his sound defeat of Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October, Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from the UFC and MMA. Since his announcement, the rumor mill has been churning with dream fight scenarios that would be enticing enough for Khabib to return for one more fight.

Some of these scenarios include rematches with Conor McGregor, others include blue sky matchups like Georges St. Pierre that UFC fans could have never imagined possible. Nurmagomedov since his retirement has been both steadfast in his public comments about his wish to remain retired while also leaving some room for a return for a legendary matchup like the aforementioned St. Pierre bought.

After the tragic passing of his father Abdulmanap due to Covid-19 complications in 2020, Nurmagomedov has made it clear that out of respect for his mother his fight with Gaethje would be his last. This however was not only a huge shock to the MMA fanbase, but ironically UFC president Dana White who was under the impression Nurmagomedov would return for one final bout.

Most recently, Khabib hinted that it would be tough to turn down an offer of $100 million to return to the octagon; “If you decide to finish, finish. But the most likely thing is that Dana offers me money. If, for example, it’s 100 million dollars, it would be hard to make a decision. We’ll see what he’s thinking. I think it’s something that will follow me until the end of my life,”

According to Chisanga Malata, The Eagle said that if his mother “gives her blessing,” he’ll happily return to the sport. However, that is hard to happen as his mother didn’t even want him to compete at UFC 254.

 

Will Khabib ever fight Conor McGregor again?

If Khabib Nurmagomedov returns to the UFC octagon, it won’t be to rematch Conor McGregor. Since his victory over McGregor, Khabib has been vocal in his opposition in ever facing him again. The same can be said for a resurgent Dustin Poirier who is fresh off his own victory over McGregor. “I’m not interested. I beat them both easily,” Nurmagomedov stated in his recent press conference.

(image credit – mmamania.com)

Will Khabib fight Georges St Pierre if he returns to the UFC octagon?

Since Khabib’s retirement announcement, UFC president Dana White has been the most vocal proponent of getting Nurmagomedov back in the cage.

“I’m obviously meeting with him because I believe that he should fight again,” White said in an interview with ESPN. “I mean, look at what he did to Justin Gaethje. Look at what he’s done to every opponent he has faced. Like when I wanted [Daniel] Cormier to stay, I still think they’re the best in the world. And then there’s always the argument, well, it’s never a bad thing to go out on top.

“And when you talk about money, I mean Khabib has money beyond belief. This guy doesn’t ever have to work again and he still has the ability to do things to make unbelievable money. He’s in a very unique position as a fighter.”

“I think he should fight again and I’m gonna press him as hard as I can for one more,” White added.

Beyond a McGregor matchup, which seems like a virtual impossibility at this point, the next biggest fight would without a doubt be a legendary matchup of Khabib vs. St. Pierre. With St. Pierre retired since taking the middleweight championship from Michael Bisping in late 2017, many MMA fans are wondering if this is even a possibility. Both St. Pierre and Khabib have publicly acknowledged their interest in making this fight happen, and both are still reported to be staying in fighting shape despite their respective retirements. One can safely assume that both fighters appreciate the historical significance of a fight between them, and time will tell if MMA fans around the world will get to see possibly the greatest matchup in UFC history.

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