White: McGregor – Poirier 2 Isn’t a Title Fight Because of Khabib
Dana White says Conor McGregor - Dustin Poirier 2 won't be for the title, as he's confident Khabib Nurmagomedov isn't done fighting.
Khabib Nurmagomedov has publicly said a couple more times that his fighting career is over. But, UFC President Dana White sounds even more certain than before that the lightweight champ will return to the Octagon.
White repeats belief Khabib will return
As you likely know, after Nurmagomedov choked out Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 last month, he announced he was retiring. The undefeated fighter reported that after his father passed away earlier this year, he promised his mother he would only fight one more time.
Not long after, White said that after talking with Khabib, he believes the fighter will return to pursue the 30-0 mark. In a couple of public appearances since UFC 254, however, Khabib has repeated that he’s done fighting.
Well, more recently, Khabib reported that he’s undergone another USADA test. As a result, when White was asked if the planned January 23rd bout between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier is going to be for the title, he said this (quotes via MMA Junkie).
“No, Khabib’s going to fight,” White said at a post-fight news conference. “I believe he’s going to. (McGregor-Poirier is) not for the title.”
“I told you guys that I think he’s going to go to 30 (wins),” White said.
“If he’s still testing – why the hell would you want to test still if you’re not going to fight?
“He hasn’t committed, but I feel like he’s going to, and I’m not really pushing him.
We talked about it and he just fought. Let him take some time, spend some time with his family, spend the holidays. There’s no rush.”
Now, based on what Khabib was publicly said, there were certainly reasons to believe that yes, he is indeed, done fighting. But, the fact he is still enrolled in USADA, does seem to indicate that he’s either not entirely certain he’s retired, or that yes, he plans to pursue his 30th win.
So, unless Khabib comes out and definitively, shuts the door on a comeback, it looks like McGregor – Poirier will not be fighting for gold.
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The other question here is who will Khabib fight if he does come back? Shortly before UFC 254 went down, the champ stated he had no interest in fighting Conor or Dustin, since he’s already defeated them.
Khabib has repeatedly said he wants to fight Georges St-Pierre. But in recent weeks, the latter has called for the super fight to be a catchweight, if it’s tabled.
It’s hard to imagine the UFC being on board with that plan.