Khabib Nurmagomedov has cemented his claim that he is retired and he believes the lightweight division needs to move on.
After Nurmagomedov defeated Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, he announced his retirement from the sport. However, Dana White wanted the Dagestani native to return, but he has said he won’t return. Now, “The Eagle” has further cemented that claim and says the division needs to move on and Dustin Poirier deserves to be the champ.
“I’m focused on my own big projects, four or five of them. I have to spend time on them,” Khabib told Russia’s Match TV (translation via RT Sport). “As for my career as a fighter, I don’t want to go into details. Dana’s an honest person, we always had an honest relationship. I think he’ll let the media know the message that I sent him a week ago. It’s not a secret, I just told him how I’d like things to develop, not only related to me, but the lightweight division in general. I told (Dana) I don’t want the division to be held up. But on the other hand, fighters have only just been in action and people already understand in general who we’ll see fighting for the title.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov also revealed he will meet with Dana White at the end of February where White will tell him the plan for the lightweight division. For Nurmagomedov, he believes Dustin Poirier needs to be in the title fight or promoted to the champ.
“Poirier deserves to be champion, that’s my personal opinion,” Khabib said. “Look at who he’s fought. Jim Miller, Eddie Alvarez, Anthony Pettis, Max Holloway. He’s fought me, Conor – these are all top fighters, maybe fighters who will end up in the UFC Hall of Fame.
“I think intrigue will appear in the lightweight division as soon as they decide the title fight and eliminator. At the moment, it’s held up and not clear what Dana’s thinking. I think it’s going to be on fire in the lightweight division this summer. The lightweight division has always been the most competitive, the most interesting, with big stars. It will take new turns this summer… a new, younger, generation is already coming, plus there’s Chandler, Oliviera, Poirier, Gaethje, a lot of good fighters. With that mix, it will be interesting this summer and towards the end of the year.”
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime