Dana White believes there is still a chance that Khabib Nurmagomedov returns to the Octagon.
Nurmagomedov is still the UFC lightweight champion and White plans to allow the 155lbs division to play out this year with a number of fights to decide the top contender for the title.
A meeting with Nurmagomedov in January amounted to nothing but White will meet with ‘The Eagle’ again this weekend and make the case for one more bout for the lightweight king.
“We’re going to have dinner on Saturday or Sunday and just talk and see,” White said at the UFC 259 pre-fight press conference.
"You don't Khabib saying 'leave me alone!'"
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) March 4, 2021
“I think a lot of these fights have to play out in the lightweight division. From No. 9 all the way up to No. 1, they’re incredible fights. You can mix or match them any way you want and they’re really good fights.”
Nurmagomedov has repeatedly stated that he is not interested in fighting anymore after the passing of his father last year and he has reiterated his desire to simply help his teammates prepare for bouts and continue training.
White is hopeful that an intriguing challenger can emerge in 2021 and interest Nurmagomedov in a return that could potentially take his professional record to 30-0.
“Let some of these play out to see who will fight next for the title,” White said.
“I think if Khabib is interested, he’ll take the fight. You don’t see Khabib saying, ‘Leave me alone. Stop asking me.’ So there’s still a chance. That’s the way I look at it.”
The UFC is targeting the rubber match between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier for this summer, while many believe that Charles Oliveira is the standout contender for a title shot at 155lbs.