UFC president Dana White is confident he will be able to convince Khabib Nurmagomedov to come out of retirement when they meet up in Abu Dhabi next month.
The lightweight champion, 32, made the shock announcement that he was calling time on his career immediately following UFC 254 in the capital in October, when he defeated interim title-holder Justin Gaethje by second-round submission. The conclusion to the UFC's second Fight Island series, it carried Nurmagomedov's record to 29-0. It was the Dagestan native's first competitive fight since his father and long-time coach, Abdulmanap, died in July.
However, speculation has continued that Nurmagomedov will return to the octagon, with the unbeaten fighter teasing recently his get-together with White. The pair will meet in Abu Dhabi, most probably during the UFC's third Fight Island in the emirate. That three-event run, which is expected to culminate with Conor McGregor's long-awaited comeback, has yet to be confirmed.
Speaking to TMZ Sports on Saturday, White was asked about Nurmagomedov’s current status, to which he replied: "The truth is, he is not committed to anything. What he has committed to is meeting with me next month."
White, though, added: "We're going to find out how persuasive I can be. I'll bet on me every time."
Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov has released previously unseen footage of the lengths he went to in the build-up to UFC 254 to make weight for the championship clash. The video, posted on his official YouTube account, shows the difficulty he experienced in cutting to 155lbs, and charts the final day at W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island leading up to the weigh-in.
Nurmagomedov eventually took to the scales first at Flash Forum, where he looked mighty relieved to have come in on the button.
The video can be viewed here.