Conor McGregor given Khabib Nurmagomedov hope with alternative return fight ruled out
UFC: Khabib meets Dana at Fight Island
Dana White claims Khabib Nurmagomedov has no interest in fighting UFC legend Georges St-Pierre – opening the door to a second fight with Conor McGregor. St-Pierre is considered by many to be one of the greatest MMA stars of all time and admitted this week that the prospect of fighting a fellow UFC legend in Khabib ‘freaking excites me’. However, the Canadian, who is 40 in May, has been retired since 2017 and the middleweight victory over Michael Bisping – which saw him become a two-weight champion – was his only fight in more than seven years.
St-Pierre, who was welterweight champion for 2,204 days before his first retirement, is contemplating a return to the ring in 2021 though and there had been talk of a potential superfight with Khabib.
The Russian had also retired last year but White met with the lightweight champion in Abu Dhabi on Friday night in the hope of persuading him to come out of retirement.
When asked if the prospect of Khabib going up to 170 pounds and becoming one of the few men to become a two-weight champion had been discussed, the UFC president replied: “No, GSP never came up and he (Khabib) is not interested in that fight.
“And from what I hear today after that, neither is GSP. So that is over.”
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White’s remarks came after comments by St-Pierre where he stated the prospect of a fight with Khabib really interested him but explained that certain compromises would have to be made.
St-Pierre told Tim & Sid: “It freaking excites me, man. Khabib is bigger than me. He’s a better weight-cutter than me, probably, and I’m older than he is, and that plays too.
“We need to know the terrain. It’s one of the principles of the art of war. I need to know if I fight in a place that he knows the terrain and I don’t, it’s an advantage for him.
“Right now it’s an advantage for him. I don’t have the structure to train, and he does. So there needs to be compromise on both sides to make the fight happen.”
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Khabib remains the current UFC lightweight champion after his second-round stoppage of Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October.
The 32-year-old immediately announced his retirement from the sport after the bout though, explaining that he didn’t want to carry on fighting without his father and lifelong coach Abdulmanap in his corner following his death in July.
White met with Khabib on Friday night in the hope of persuading him into a U-turn and he has left the door open for another superfight with McGregor, having stopped the Irishman in the fourth round in 2018.
“Basically, the way that he (Khabib) feels now is he’s accomplished everything he set out to accomplish,” White said.
“He thought that [Charles] Oliveira looked really good in his last fight against Tony Ferguson. So next Saturday we’ve got the McGregor-[Dustin] Poirier fight, and [Michael] Chandler-[Dan] Hooker on there.
“So his words to me were ‘I’m going to watch this fight, I would never tie up the division, hold the belt and keep the belt from anyone else’.
“‘These guys do something spectacular, show me something spectacular, and make me want to come back and fight’.
“I have a feeling if somebody delivers, on the main event or co-event, and like I said he thought Oliveira looked good, if these guys can do something special, Khabib will fight them.”
He continued: “I think [the competitive edge is still there].
“He’s the best in the world right now, his best performance was against Gaethje with all that stuff going on.
“He just needed some time to clear his head and if these guys do what I think they will do next weekend, it sounds like he might be interested in fighting one of them.”
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