In combat sports, retirements need to be taken with a hefty serving of salt but it seems like Khabib Nurmagomedov is indeed finished with fighting.
While he announced his retirement last October, Khabib Nurmagomedov continued to be bombarded by Dana White with attempts to persuade the undefeated Russian to return for one last bout.
White hoped the lucrative appeal of a rematch with fierce rival Conor McGregor would tempt Nurmagomedov to row back on his retirement plan but it wasn’t to be.
Reluctantly, White conceded defeat last week and confirmed that Nurmagomedov’s fighting days were over.
29-0 it is.
— danawhite (@danawhite) March 19, 2021
‘The Eagle’ has now been removed from the UFC’s official pound-for-pound rankings, with Jon Jones replacing him at the top of the list.
With most in the top 15 moving up a place in Nurmagomedov’s absence, McGregor has returned to the rankings after being removed two weeks ago.
The UFC’s lightweight title is now officially vacant but that won’t be for long as the new 155lbs champion will be determined when Charles Oliveira meets promotional newcomer Michael Chandler in the main event of UFC 262 in May.
BREAKING: The Octagon heads to Houston! 🚀
— UFC (@ufc) March 19, 2021
Top-ranked lightweight, Dustin Poirier, looked to be a shoo-in for the next title fight but he has decided to go in a different direction by targeting a rubber match with McGregor in the summer.
The McGregor fight is likely more financially beneficial to Poirier than a title shot and if ‘The Diamond’ manages his second consecutive win over his Irish rival, his status as the next challenger at 155lbs will be undeniable.
As for McGregor, he let the UFC know to book him for a title fight in his own inimitable style after taunting Nurmagomedov following the recent retirement confirmation.
The 155lb World Champion. Book it! pic.twitter.com/On4akcHrB0
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) March 20, 2021
While not yet finalised, Poirier vs. McGregor III is expected to take place on July 10 with fans likely to be in attendance.