Dana White says Khabib Nurmagomedov remains UFC champion

Much has been made about the pending status of the UFC’s lightweight division and the championship belt. Currently on paper and according to UFC Dana White, undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov is still the active champion, despite Nurmagomedov retiring from the sport following his most recent title defense at UFC 254 this past October.

While Nurmagomedov continues to stick to his retirement, even saying Dustin Poirier deserves to be champion following Poirier’s win over Conor McGregor at UFC 257 last month, Dana White is not changing anything with the title just yet. In a recent interview with Complex, the UFC President revealed that Nurmagomedov is still the lightweight champion and he hopes to have a meeting with him in Las Vegas soon.

“Khabib is the champion. Khabib’s coming to Vegas. He and I are gonna go to dinner and talk and see what’s next.” (H/T MMA Fighting)

In a very stacked lightweight division that has seen Dustin Poirier rise to the top with Khabib Nurmagomedov not around, Dana White suggested that there is currently an unofficial tournament happening at the top of the division right now. Whoever comes out on top of the unofficial tournament could become champion, according to White.

“The one that deserves to be champion is the one that comes out on top in this tournament. Khabib beat Conor. Khabib destroyed Dustin. Khabib’s the man, he’s the champ. If y0u look at the guys who deserve to be there, it’s whoever’s gonna win out of the top-5. You’ve got Poirier, Gaethje, Oliveira, Chandler, and you still have Tony Ferguson and Conor [McGregor] in the mix too.”

It seems obvious to all except Dana White that Nurmagomedov is currently sticking to his retirement plans and is ready to let the top of the lightweight division fight it out for a vacant title. However, it appears that the division is still on hold until the two sides sit down and talk once again.

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Mike Pendleton
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his "On The Mic" podcast and is a former Associate Producer at Sirius XM's Fight Nation. With a special passion for interviewing and talking to the very best around the fight game, you can read or listen to Mike's work across his multiple outlets. Follow me on Twitter: @MP2310