UFC president Dana White accepts Khabib Nurmagomedov 'officially retired'
Russian retires with a perfect record of 29 MMA wins
UFC president Dana White has accepted Khabib Nurmagomedov's decision to retire as final.
The Russian first announced his retirement after successfully defending his UFC lightweight title against Justin Gaethje last October at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi.
Nurmagomedov, who with the win took his professional record to 29-0, cited the death of his father in July and a subsequent promise he made to his mother as reason not to continue.
The Dagestani native has continually been linked with a return to UFC since, with a rematch against Conor McGregor heavily touted.
White has done more than most to keep the door open for a potential return, meeting Nurmagomedov on the sidelines of a UAE Warriors event held in Abu Dhabi in January preceding the final run of the Fight Island series in the UAE capital.
White took to social media on Thursday and, after what appears to be another meeting with Nurmagomedov, seemingly accepting that the "Eagle" has “officially retired.”
"29-0 it is. He is officially 100 per cent retired. It was incredible to watch you work @TeamKhabib. Thank you for EVERYTHING and enjoy whatever is next my friend."
Nurmagomedov thanked the UFC in an Instagram post and said “a real conversation between real men” took place between him and White.
"Dana - I’ll never forget your attitude towards me, my father did not forget and my sons will remember you."
Nurmagomedov retires as arguably the greatest athlete in UFC history, with notable victories over McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Gaethje, Rafael dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, and Al Iaquinta, whom he defeated to claim the vacant lightweight title in April 2018 at UFC 223.
He is likely to turn his attention full time to his Eagle Fighting Championship mixed martial art promotion.
Updated: March 19, 2021 10:56 AM