Khabib unsure of future beyond UFC 254 but White has 'something special' lined up

By Sports Desk October 01, 2020

Khabib Nurmagomedov is not sure of his future beyond his lightweight title defence against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 but revealed Dana White has "something special" lined up.

It has been frequently suggested the undefeated Nurmagomedov could retire from mixed martial arts following the death of his father and coach Abdulmanap in July.

The unbeaten Russian (28-0) has not stepped into the Octagon since submitting Dustin Poirier in September 2019, having withdrawn from a fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 due to travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gaethje stepped in and won the interim belt to set up his meeting with Nurmagomedov in Abu Dhabi on October 24.

Asked what lies ahead for him after that fight, Nurmagomedov said: "I don't know. For example, I'm going to finish Justin Gaethje inside the cage on October 24. What else? This is a very good question.

"I love competition. I love to compete with the best fighters in the world. That's why I am here. I'm not in the UFC to make money. I have a lot of business projects outside the UFC, I can make money. Good question. Very good question."

He added: "We have a couple options. We're going to think about this after this fight.

"Dana told me after this fight he has something special for me. But I told him, please keep this, after the fight we're going to talk. He said he has very big things after this fight for me. We'll see."

Gaethje hopes to be the first fighter to get the better of Nurmagomedov, who he expects will subsequently take on retired UFC legend Georges St-Pierre before calling time on his career.

"I'm gonna try and beat him into submission, I want him to quit. I want him to know that I am the superior athlete, the superior man, that's the goal of this game," said Gaethje.

"Khabib's gonna go fight GSP after I beat him and then go, so I'll be here. I'll be ready."

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    Khabib, 32, stunningly announced his retirement after beating Justin Gaethje to defend the lightweight championship at UFC 254 last week.

    But White feels Khabib will return to honour his father Abdulmanap, who died in July after complications from a coronavirus infection.

    "Khabib and I have been talking," White told CBS Sports on Thursday.

    "He was completely emotional that night when he got through that fight. I have a feeling that he might go for 30-0."

    White added: "I think that he's not going to retire.

    "His dad wanted him to get to 30-0 and I think he wants to honour his dad's wish."

  • Jones fumes at Khabib being made pound-for-pound No. 1: This is bulls*** Jones fumes at Khabib being made pound-for-pound No. 1: This is bulls***

    Khabib Nurmagomedov moving to the top of the UFC's pound-for-pound rankings is "number one bulls***", according to Jon Jones.

    Jones lost his place at the top of the rankings to Khabib after the undefeated lightweight champion unified the division with a second-round submission of Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 last weekend.

    The Russian announced his retirement in the immediate aftermath and called on the UFC to give him the honour of being named the best pound-for-pound in the organisation.

    His desire was granted on Tuesday and former light-heavyweight king Jones was not impressed at losing his spot.

    "This is number one bulls***," Jones wrote on Twitter.

    "Unanimous decision over last-minute replacement Al Iaquinta to become champion.

    "Conor McGregor is the only opponent he's ever had that the general public actually knew. Catapulted my man to becoming the best ever, this is hilarious."

    Khabib won the lightweight title against Iaquinta in April 2018 after Tony Ferguson withdrew through injury and his replacement Max Holloway was deemed medically unfit on weigh-in day.

    However, he went on to mount successful defences against McGregor, Dustin Poirier and Gaethje before hanging up his gloves with a 29-0 record.

    Jones improved to 26-1, with one no contest, by defeating Dominick Reyes last February, setting a UFC record with his 14th title fight win.

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    Khabib Nurmagomedov is officialy the UFC's number one pound-for-pound fighter and is proud to have achieved the "work of my life".

    After submitting Justin Gaethje in the second round to unify the lightweight division and extend his unbeaten mixed martial arts record to 29-0 at UFC 254 on Saturday, Khabib announced his immediate retirement.

    The Russian was emotional in the Octagon as he confirmed he would not return due to the death of his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov in July, having promised his mother the fight with Gaethje would be his last.

    Following his latest victory, Khabib said: "There is only one thing I want from UFC, to put me as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world because I deserve it."

    Khabib took to Instagram to express his pride at that request becoming a reality on Tuesday, as he moved above former light-heavyweight king Jon Jones into top spot.

    "It was [the] work of my life, I never got anything easy, and nothing was given to me because I'm [a] nice guy," he wrote.

    "Hard work, hope for Allah and patience, these three ingredients help me to get success, and of course, control and advice from my father, who invested in me a lot of time and work."

    Khabib also posted an image of an X-ray showing he had a broken bone in his left foot less than three weeks before taking on Gaethje, making his success all the more remarkable.

    The win enhanced the 32-year-old's claim to be considered the greatest UFC fighter of all time, but Jones does not share that opinion.

    In a video posted on Instagram on Monday, Jones said: "I'm talking to all you Khabib fans out there; 15 world titles, to your guy's four, and you guys are really talking about who's the best fighter ever. You guys are joking right?

    "The only person that could possibly come back and challenge my record and what I've done in the UFC is possibly Georges St-Pierre.

    "He would have to come back and win two championship fights to tie me. And I'm not even retired yet. I'm 33 years old. I've got a whole other chapter to go through.

    "And all you guys that are going with this 'he's more dominant' argument, the guy just recently started fighting elite level competition. Can you imagine me against the 10th-ranked guy?"

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