UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is officially retired, and he won’t be returning to competition.
Late Thursday night, UFC President Dana White took to social media to finally throw in the towel in his efforts to convince the undefeated Russian to come back for at least one more fight after Nurmagomedov called it a career this past October following a successful title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.
At the time, Nurmagomedov announced that he had promised his mother that he would retire from the sport, but White believed the decision was made in the heat of the moment and he could eventually convince him to return to the UFC.
Despite his best efforts, White was unable to sway Nurmagomedov to come back for another fight. Now, he’s acknowledging that arguably the greatest lightweight in the history of the sport has closed the book on his career.
White wrote on Twitter, “29-0 it is,” while posting a photo alongside Nurmagomedov. “He is 100 percent officially retired. It was incredible to watch you work, Khabib. Thank you for EVERYTHING and enjoy whatever is next my friend.”
While the UFC president has been pulling out all the stops over the past few months to lure Nurmagomedov back to the octagon, the Dagestani native has been steadfast in his decision to stay retired.
That said, White stated numerous times that if something came along that really interested Nurmagomedov, or felt like a true challenge, he might reconsider his decision.
Earlier this week, Nurmagomedov posted a photo alongside former UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta with a note addressed to White that said “send location,” which led to speculation that perhaps he really was considering a comeback.
Instead, it appears Nurmagomedov was just planning on meeting with White to confirm his retirement as he walks away from the sport with a rare undefeated record and having never lost his UFC lightweight title.
Nurmagomedov retires with a perfect 29-0 record including a 13-0 resume in the UFC. He won four consecutive title fights, including three straight defenses in bouts against Gaethje, Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor.
During his entire career with the UFC, Nurmagomedov only lost two rounds on the scorecards, ultimately dominating or finishing every opponent he faced.
When Nurmagomedov was still cemented as champion, White wouldn’t even speculate what he would do in the future, much less consider the possibility of crowing an interim title holder. With the champion now retired, the UFC is moving on with a bout for the vacant lightweight title as Michael Chandler meets Charles Oliveira at UFC 262 on May 15.
Based on the current UFC rankings, Poirier, Gaethje, Chandler and Oliveira are ranked as the top-four fighters in the world at lightweight. All signs have pointed toward Poirier rematching McGregor later this year after he finished the Irish superstar by second-round TKO back in January. Poirier balked at a fight with Chandler, saying the ex-Bellator champ hadn’t done enough to warrant a title shot. Oliveira, meanwhile, turned down a non-title fight against Chandler earlier this year.
But with a belt up for grabs, that matchup is back on.