UFC news: Khabib Nurmagomedov open to UFC return ahead of McGregor vs Poirier

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Khabib Nurmagomedov could make a dramatic UFC return depending on upcoming lightweight bouts.

The unbeaten Russian had initially announced his retirement after submitting Justin Gaethje to retain his world lightweight championship at UFC 254.

The sad news came as a result of Nurmagomedov not wanting to fight without his father, Abdulmanap, who sadly passed away last summer due to complications caused by COVID-19.

Khabib's 2020 retirement

According to Sky Sports, Nurmagomedov said immediately after the Gaethje victory: "Today I want to say this is my last fight. No way am I coming here without my father.

"When UFC called me about Justin I spoke with my mother for three days. She didn't want me to fight without father and I said this is my last fight - and I have given her my word."

However, rumours began to swirl around suggesting that Nurmagomedov would be interested in a return to MMA and UFC President Dana White did little to pour water on the claims.

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UFC announcement

With a perfect professional record of 29-0, many wondered whether Nurmagomedov would be keen to fight for his 30th victory or even entertain the idea of a rematch with Conor McGregor.

As a result, there couldn't have been any more anticipation when White revealed that an announcement would be made about Nurmagomedov's future at 20:00(GMT) on Saturday.

In the end, the announcement was a little disappointing with Nurmagomedov neither confirming nor denying his retirement, but instead keeping the door open for a potential lightweight bout.

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Khabib open to return

Dana White said the Russian told him: "I’m going to watch the two lightweight fights at 257. If these guys do something spectacular and make me want to come back and fight I’ll fight."

In other words, Nurmagomedov wants to see something spectacular from the McGregor vs Poirier or Dan Hooker vs Michael Chandler fights in order to tempt him out of retirement.

While, yes, it's frustrating that the highly-billed announcement was ultimately less definitive than it was touted, it is exciting to know that Nurmagomedov hasn't completely closed the door to a return.

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And hopefully for fight fans, it will inspire Poirier, McGregor, Hooker and Chandler to put on truly spectacular performances next week in order to vie for Nurmagomedov's attention.

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