Khabib Nurmagomedov has thanked Dana White and the UFC for their support and understanding as his retirement was confirmed.

Khabib, who boasts a 29-0 record in the UFC, announced after his most recent victory against Justin Gaethje last October he was quitting the sport.

The fighter's father and coach, Abdulmanap, passed away earlier in 2020 and Khabib said: "There's no way I'm going to come here without my father."

UFC president White retained hope of changing his star performer's mind, but he accepted defeat on Thursday.

White posted on Twitter following a meal with Khabib that he was "officially retired".

The UFC chief also thanked for the Russian for his efforts, and those feelings of gratitude were reciprocated by Khabib in his own social media post.

"It was a good dinner with some great people," he wrote on Instagram. "@danawhite thank you so much brother and the entire @ufc team for the opportunity to prove myself, you guys have changed many live forever because of this sport.

"Dana - I'll never forget your attitude towards me, my father did not forget and my sons will remember you. Today there was a real conversation between real men.

"Also thank you to all team, sparing partners (sic) and all fans. I hope you will accept my decision and understand me."

UFC president Dana White said Khabib Nurmagomedov is "officially retired" as he thanked the unbeaten star.

Khabib stunningly announced his retirement after beating Justin Gaethje to defend the lightweight title at UFC 254 in October last year as he improved to 29-0.

White had retained hope of Khabib returning to the UFC, previously talking up the Russian trying to reach a flawless 30-0 record.

But White used Twitter on Thursday to end hopes of a blockbuster comeback for Khabib.

White wrote, with an accompanying picture alongside Khabib: "29-0 it is.

"He is officially retired. It was incredible to watch you work @TeamKhabib.

"Thank you for EVERYTHING and enjoy whatever is next my friend."

Khabib had fuelled speculation he could make a return to the octagon earlier this week.

The undefeated champion posted a photo to Instagram, alongside former UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta, with the words: "It was good to see you Lorenzo.

"@danawhite send me location."

UFC president Dana White believes "there's still a chance" Khabib Nurmagomedov will come out of retirement to fight in the octagon.

Khabib stunningly announced his retirement after beating Justin Gaethje to defend the lightweight title at UFC 254 in October last year as he improved to 29-0, though the 32-year-old remains the champion.

White has retained hope of Khabib returning to the UFC, previously talking up the Russian trying to reach a flawless 30-0 record.

Conor McGregor continues to eye a Khabib showdown, while Dustin Poirier – who stunned the former via TKO at UFC 257 – has declared himself the champion.

Speaking ahead of UFC 259, White told reporters he is set to meet with Khabib.

"We're going to have dinner on Saturday or Sunday and just talk and see," White said.

"I think a lot of these fights have to play out in that division. From [number nine] all the way up to number one, they're incredible fights. You can mix or match them any way you want and they're really good fights."

White added: "Let some of these play out to see who will fight next for the title. I think if Khabib is interested, he'll take the fight.

"You don't see Khabib saying, 'Leave me alone. Stop asking me'. So there's still a chance. That's the way I look at it."

The Paris Saint-Germain jersey worn by Kylian Mbappe when his hat-trick helped humiliate Barcelona could have sold for millions at auction but the French ace simply handed it over as a gift to UFC great Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Mbappe's devastating display of pace, power and clinical finishing crushed Barca in PSG's thumping 4-1 triumph in the opening leg of the Champions League last-16 tie, and left the hat-trick hero as the talk of the football world following one of the most scintillating performances of his glittering young career.

Uncertainty has been circling Mbappe, whose PSG contract expires in June 2022 amid strong links to Real Madrid as well as Liverpool, and the World Cup winner clearly had no intention of making the shirt a centrepiece of his own personal collection following Tuesday's exploits.

Instead, Mbappe presented the jersey to mixed-martial arts star Khabib after the UFC's longest-reigning lightweight champion watched the action unfold from the stands in Barcelona, alongside Leeds United's majority owner Andrea Radrizzani at Camp Nou.

Khabib recently vacated his title and retired from UFC competition, revealing he wants to switch the gloves for boots and give professional football a try after discussing the career change with the likes of UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

The unbeaten Russian fighter previously told Match TV: "To play football on a professional level is a childhood dream. Of course, I have such a wish. Football is the king of sports after all."

Mbappe had written a message to Khabib on the jersey, and the man also known as 'the Eagle' was quick to show off his new prized possession to his 27.3million Instagram followers.

Justin Gaethje said it is "preposterous" if Conor McGregor gets a title shot following his shock loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 as he threatened to quit the octagon.

McGregor was sensationally knocked out in the second round by Poirier in Abu Dhabi, where the Irish star was fighting for the first time in 12 months, while it was just his third appearance in the UFC since the start of 2018.

The former lightweight champion has already called for a third bout against Poirier, who he beat in 2014, and McGregor's coach John Kavanagh wants a rematch to be a title showdown.

But should president Dana White and UFC give McGregor a title contest, American Gaethje (22-3) said he will definitely consider his future.

"For them to come out and say he wants a title shot next, rematch with Poirier, they're f****** i*****," Gaethje, who has not fought since his defeat to unbeaten champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October, told ESPN.

"He's been treated special over and over and he didn't capitalise on this opportunity. That event was for him, it was for him to win.

"He wants to be Mr. Humble now, but you know he would have been an a****** had he won that fight. I don't feel bad for him, I'm happy for Poirier, I'm happy Poirier went out there did his job, and finished him.

"I love seeing a loudmouth get knocked out, there is nothing that makes me happier. Seeing a piece of s*** get put down, that was great, I loved it.

"He's not fighting for a title. I will think about never fighting in the UFC again if he fights for a title. That would be preposterous. He's sitting at number six, he's won one fight in his entire life in the lightweight division.

"He picks and chooses who he fights. I would love to fight him but I don't think it should be next. But he ain't gonna fight me."

Dustin Poirier declared "I'm the champ" after defeating Conor McGregor by technical knockout at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

A string of punches to McGregor's head in the second round made Poirier a leading contender for the UFC lightweight title, which is still held by Khabib Nurmagomedov despite the Russian having retired.

Poirier said he would be open to a rematch with McGregor or a bout with Nate Diaz but ruled out a fight against Michael Chandler, who defeated Dan Hooker on his UFC debut in the co-main event.

Asked if a fight with former Bellator lightweight champion Chandler interested him, Porier said: "No, it does not. Respect to Chandler, great win over a guy, but to come in and beat a guy I just beat and get a title shot?

"Dude, I've been 27, 28 fights in the UFC, trying everything, fighting the toughest of the toughest guys to get my hands on gold. He should fight Charles Oliveira or something, let them go at it.

"That doesn't really interest me at this point. I'll go and sell hot sauce if that's the case.

"It's not even my position, I've just been putting in the work, that's why I can sit here and talk about it because I've been in the division and the UFC for a long time fighting the best of the best to him.

"No disrespect to him … it's just my feelings towards the division and the sport. I feel like I lost to Khabib, I came out and put on a fight of the year for you guys, got my hand raised against a top-five opponent after that, then I come in here and Khabib doesn't want to come back, and one of the biggest fights you can get I knock this guy out too.

"Khabib reiterates he doesn't want to fight anymore. Dude, I'm the champ.

"Fighting a new guy to the UFC who just beat a guy whose coming off a loss that I just beat for the belt, that's not exciting to me."

Poirier ranked the victory over McGregor as one of his best, particularly because the Irishman won their first meeting in 2014 and had never been knocked out before.

"It's up there, especially finishing a guy who's never been finished like that, it's up there man," he said.

"Touching that UFC interim belt was so important to me, and putting my hands on the undisputed world title before this is all said and done is what I want to absolutely do, but this is a big one."

Poirier lost his first and only shot at the title when he was submitted at UFC 242 by Nurmagomedov, who bowed out after making Justin Gaethje tap at UFC 254 last October.

Asked whether Gaethje or Oliveira was more deserving of a chance to fight him for the lightweight belt, he replied: "Oliveira, because he's never had the opportunity.

"Gaethje just came out here and got beat. As I did. Not a knock on Gaethje, but he lost. Oliveira probably, or let them fight to see who gets it. There are so many tough fighters in the 155-pound division."

Conor McGregor called out Khabib Nurmagomedov after the retired UFC lightweight champion criticised him following his defeat to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257.

Poirier became the first man to knockout former featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor following a flurry of punches to the head in the second round in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Nurmagomedov was in attendance and Dana White said the Russian told him he was "so many levels above these guys" after informing the UFC president he needed to see "something spectacular" to be tempted out of retirement.

Following McGregor's defeat, Nurmagomedov tweeted: "This is what happened [sic], when you change your team, leave the sparring partners who made you a champion and sparring with little kids, far away from reality."

McGregor was submitted by Khabib at UFC 229 in October 2018, a fight that was overshadowed by a post-bout brawl outside the Octagon. The fight with Poirier was just the Irishman's second since then.

Asked if he had a response to Nurmagomedov's remarks, McGregor said: "My team has been the team since day one, I've not changed anything. It is what it is, respect the athletes. That's the character for the man for sure, behind the mask.

"What's he wanna do? Does he wanna come back or no? Because he's not throwing any leg kicks. I got up off the ground against Dustin, I turned Dustin. Look at little pockets of that sequence.

"Styles make fights, every fight is a different fight. That's why all this prestige people try and hold onto, I don't hold onto that. Whether someone has multiple wins or multiple losses, every fight between every man is different. That's it.

"Dustin's style played into it today. He has the durability, he has the experience and he has that leg kick in his arsenal now. I'll adjust and keep going.

"But if he [Nurmagomedov] wants to have his disrespectful comments, come back and let's go again my man. I'm ready for it. That's fighting talk. If you're coming back, come back."

McGregor has lost two of his past three fights in UFC and White predicted the 32-year-old will either become hungrier for more success or leave the sport behind.

"There's two ways this goes, hungrier or 'I'm done.' He's got the money," said White.

"It's like 'Rocky III', when you get off a 310-foot yacht, you're living that good life, it's tough to be a savage when you're living like he lives and has the money that he has. On his way up he was a young, hungry kid and he wanted nice things … he's got everything he ever wanted now, so I don't know."

McGregor, however, suggested there are still a number of battles that interest him.

"I'll certainly regroup and pick myself up, get up off the floor and go again and that's it. Styles make fight and there's many great stylistic matches out there," he said.

"Myself and Dustin are 1-1, myself and Nate [Diaz] are 1-1. There's many good matchups for me and I'll adopt a different approach for the trilogy with Dustin because those leg kicks are not to be messed with – the low calf kick I've never experienced that and it was a good one."

He added: "It's heartbreaking [to lose]. It's hard to take. The highest highs and the lowest lows in this game. My leg is completely dead and even though I thought I was checking them it was just sinking into the muscle at the front of the leg and it was badly compromised. It's like an American football in my shoe at the minute. It is what it is. Dustin fought a hell of a fight.

"I have no excuses here. It was a phenomenal performance from Dustin. I'll go back and watch the full fight and get a better grasp on it, but the leg was compromised, and I was rushing the shots a little bit and I didn't adjust. That's that. It's a bitter pill to swallow.

"Me and Dustin now are 1-1. For sure we'll go again."

Dana White revealed Khabib Nurmagomedov told him he was "so many levels above" his rivals, making it unlikely the undefeated star will come out of retirement.

Khabib (29-0) sensationally retired after beating Justin Gaethje in October last year.

White has been pushing for the Russian to return for a 30th fight, but that seems unlikely to happen.

After Dustin Poirier stunned Conor McGregor, the UFC president revealed he had a conversation with Khabib.

"I did talk to Khabib," White said.

"He said to me, 'Dana, be honest with yourself, you know I'm so many levels above these guys, I beat these guys.'

"I don't know, I don't know, but it doesn't sound very positive so we'll see.

"I told you guys before he won't hold the division up. He already retired, he's basically retired, I'm the one that's been trying to get him to do one more."

White confirmed McGregor and Poirier would likely fight for the lightweight title if Khabib did not return.

Conor McGregor is "ready and raring to go" after he and Dustin Poirier both made weight ahead of their blockbuster showdown at UFC 257.

'The Notorious' weighed in at 155lbs when he took to the scales, with Poirier a pound heavier ahead of the much-anticipated bout on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

McGregor defeated Poirier in a first-round knockout when the two first met at featherweight almost seven years ago but is sure to face an altogether sterner challenge this time around in a fight taking place at lightweight.

"I'm in fight mode now. That's for sure. The weight is down. We're closing in," McGregor said.

"It's f****** fight time now and I'm ready and raring to go. I cannot wait to get into this arena, this Octagon.

"I've been highly impressed, I think the whole business has been highly impressed, after that loss many, many years ago, he rose up became champion and has given so much back.

"I am honoured to share the Octagon with this man. I know we have this competitive fire, and it's still there, there's no denying that and it's going to be a good fireworks filled bout but the respect is admirable for this man from me.

"Everyone, I'm so excited to be back."

There was no love lost between the two men when the pair fought in 2014 but the histrionics have been replaced by a much more amicable and respectable tone this time around.

At the weigh-in, Poirier provided McGregor with a bottle of his hot sauce and praised the Irishman and his team for reaching out to his foundation, but insists he is prepared for battle.

"I don't want to seem like we are up here giving each other back massages but I just wanted to clear the air," Poirier said.

"Conor's team, McGregor Sports Entertainment did reach out to my foundation and they are starting the donation to the good fight foundation and we have huge plans for that.

"So Conor, man to man, you are going to help a lot of people with that.

"My whole career has aligned me for tomorrow night, and I'm here to be victorious and get my hand raised by any means necessary.

"I'm leaving it all out there. Let's go."

Conor McGregor has promised to put on an emphatic show against Dustin Poirier on Fight Island this weekend.

You don't get the nickname "Mystic Mac" for nothing and his latest bout, albeit it occurred 12 months ago, was a rapid dismantling of Donald Cerrone so it would not be a surprise to see the Irishman be true to his word.

Poirier is one of the most respected fighters in UFC, though, and if McGregor takes his eye off the prize then an upset could be on the cards.

The beauty of MMA is no one really knows how a fight will pan out but, that being said, we've tried to answer some of the big questions ahead of a blockbuster UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi.

Wait, didn't Conor McGregor retire?

Well…he said he had. Here's the thing, McGregor has twice before said he's retired and both times come back to fight. The pandemic seemed to derail McGregor's rejuvenated focus but no one truly believed he was done for good.

Okay, so tell me who is Dustin Poirier?

Seasoned UFC fans need no introduction to Poirier, an experienced campaigner with an excellent MMA CV. Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway are just some of the elite names Poirier has beaten. The latter fight earned him the interim lightweight belt but he came up short when fighting the fearsome Khabib Nurmagomedov for the full title. Poirier rebounded to defeat Dan Hooker in June and now he gets another crack at McGregor.

Oh, they've fought before…what happened the first time around?

McGregor scored a huge first-round knockout victory that really catapulted him to new levels of stardom and it goes without saying the 32-year-old has since transcended the world of UFC and is one of the most globally recognised sports stars.

What's different this time?

Well firstly, both men are older. Their first bout occurred in April 2014 and there was no love lost in a typically robust build-up to a McGregor fight. But the histrionics have largely been replaced by the more respectful tones of experienced fighters – both of whom are now fathers. Poirier has lost just twice since his defeat to McGregor, while this bout takes place at lightweight, whereas their first encounter was at featherweight.

Where will the fight be won?

Poirier is a completely different animal this time around – the emotive blow-for-blow scrapper has been replaced by a colder, more calculated tactician in the Octagon. McGregor remains a lethal striker and both men will want to dominate standing up. If McGregor is on song it's hard to look past a win for the Irishman.

Will the winner get to fight Khabib?

Well it's certainly the one McGregor is hankering for. Their first bout of course ended in an ugly brawl between the two camps, but McGregor remains desperate to prove he can avenge that submission defeat from October 2018. Poirier is also on a five-man shortlist of fighters to face Khabib, who for now remains retired following his win over Gaethje late last year. The unbeaten Russian met with UFC president Dana White to discuss the possibility of a comeback but it is by no means certain he returns.

Conor McGregor is still hopeful Khabib Nurmagomedov can be tempted back to the Octagon but says he should be stripped of the UFC lightweight title if he refuses to return.

Nurmagomedov called time on his career after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October but is in Abu Dhabi to attend the lightweight fight between McGregor and Dustin Poirier on Saturday.

Dana White met with the Russian, who he said was looking for "something spectacular" if he was to go back on his decision to hang up his gloves.

However, Nurmagomedov subsequently said fighting was not in his plans as he did not want to disappoint his mother, to whom he promised Gaethje would be his last opponent due to the death of his father and coach Abdulmanap.

Asked about those remarks at a news conference to preview UFC 257, White responded: "I've told you guys. We'll see what happens this week."

McGregor, who was submitted by Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in a fight that was overshadowed by a post-bout melee outside the Octagon, added "we'll get him", before claiming that the lightweight title will soon be up for grabs.

"I'd make the case if that man [Nurmagomedov] is continuing to dodge this and dodge the commitment of competing again, the title should be stripped and we should be engaging in a title fight," said McGregor.

"I'm sure it'll happen after this bout. I'm interested to hear what the excuses are … but I predict a title strip.

"As long as we fight again there'll be no issue [between us], that's it. If he continues to run, I'm not sure. We'll see what happens.

"The world knows this fight is not over, this war is not over. The sport needs it to happen. I'm not gonna chase it if he doesn't want it and I'll keep my calm and move on."

The fight with Poirier will be just McGregor's third at lightweight, having returned from a second retirement at welterweight when he took on Donald Cerrone in January last year.

The former featherweight and lightweight champion claimed to have retired again, finding it difficult to fulfil his three-fight plan for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but he is now anticipating a long run at 155 pounds.

"I have not had that many fights at 155 in the UFC and I'm eager to put in a stint, to get a run going like I did with the featherweights," said McGregor.

"I think I went seven or eight fights within a year and a half. That's what I'm looking for here if they can match me up. This is the best I've ever been for sure, and I'm at 155 pounds. But if I go back to 170 you best believe that'll be the best I've ever felt also."

Poirier's camp suggested McGregor's weakness is his conditioning, but the Irishman does not agree with that assessment.

"I think it's a myth. Obviously the first [Nate] Diaz fight I went from featherweight and a month or so later I was at welterweight, that's obviously gonna have an impact and then there were other issues," he said.

"Overall, I think it's a myth. It's a myth that's out there and I hope we can answer it. I will answer it in time at some stage. I keep showing up here, someone's gonna be able to stay in there and fight with me. I hope it's this Saturday night. Do I think so? I do not. I'm in some shape here and I'm coming to put on a masterpiece."

McGregor added: "I have a million shots. I have so many weapons in my arsenal and they're all fine-tuned at this time. I'm in a phenomenal place and I look forward to going out and showcasing, painting a beautiful picture."

Khabib Nurmagomedov could be tempted to make a comeback if a lightweight rival impresses him at UFC 257, Dana White has revealed. 

The undefeated Khabib announced his retirement after beating Justin Gaethje to unify the lightweight division at UFC 254 last year, his first outing since the death of his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.

However, White raised the prospect that the Russian may return for one more bout - if he likes what he sees out of a potential opponent next week. 

That includes former foes Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, who meet in the main event on Fight Island. Dan Hooker and Michael Chandler do battle on the same bill, with the winner potentially coming under consideration. 

Charles Oliveira is also an option, having apparently grabbed Khabib's attention during his victory over Tony Ferguson at UFC 256 in December. 

"The thing with him is, when you make the decision to retire, I knew he made the decision under unbelievable emotional stress," White told the media after Max Holloway's victory over Calvin Kattar in Abu Dhabi. 

"His dad had died, he got hurt during that camp and couldn't train right, couldn't cut weight right. All the things he went through and then he went out and performed how he performed, then made that decision that night.  

"Listen, you're not tying anything up. Go home, spend some time with your family. Heal up, think about it. 

"Then he and I got together, and he said: 'I want to see if somebody really blows me away and impresses me next week'. 

"You've got the co-main event and the main event, while Oliveira looked awesome against Tony Ferguson - that's an interesting fight for him. 

"We will see what these guys do this weekend. I think it's fun - do you guys not want to see Khabib fight again? Hopefully, he sticks around and does one more." 

However, White made clear that Georges St-Pierre is not on the shortlist of potential opponents. 

"No, GSP never came up. He's not interested in that fight and, from what I hear today, neither is GSP. That's over," he said.

UFC president Dana White said he is meeting with Khabib Nurmagomedov as he presses the retired star for one more fight.

Khabib stunningly announced his retirement from the octagon after beating Justin Gaethje to defend the lightweight title at UFC 254 in October as he improved to 29-0, though the 32-year-old remains the champion.

White has retained hope of Khabib returning to the UFC, previously talking up the Russian trying to reach a flawless 30-0 record.

As Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier prepare to clash at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi on January 23, White told ESPN: "I'm obviously meeting with him [Khabib] because I think that he should fight again.

"Look at what he did to Justin Gaethje. Look at what he's done to every opponent he has faced.

"I think he should fight again and I'm going to press him as hard as I can for one more."

White added: "As a promoter, you always want to see the best guys in the world, but at the same time, when a guy wants to retire, he probably should.

"The difference with a guy like Khabib is he's been through so much, and losing his dad was a major blow to him. Yet, his dad wanted him to hit 30-0.

"No matter what you think of Conor personally, Conor McGregor is not only one of the best in the world, but one of the best to ever do it. And right now, he's as focused as he's ever been.

"I don't know if this is going to be the same Conor after the Poirier fight, but if this Conor sticks around for the next year, how do you not do Khabib vs. Conor again?"

Khabib Nurmagomedov expects the winner of the Conor McGregor-Dustin Poirier bout to fight for the UFC lightweight championship.

Khabib stunningly announced his retirement from the octagon after beating Justin Gaethje to defend the lightweight title at UFC 254 in October as he improved to 29-0, though the 32-year-old remains the champion.

As McGregor and Poirier prepare for their January 23 clash at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi, Khabib believes the winner will go on to compete for his crown.

"Top three [lightweight] fighters right now? Poirier, McGregor and [Islam] Makhachev. He is not in the top-five yet, but those are the best fighters," Khabib told Match TV.

"My belt will be taken by the winner of Dustin and Conor."

Khabib has continued to insist he will not come out of retirement to fight in the UFC, and the Russian added: "[UFC president] Dana White and I are constantly in touch -- the moment about the vacancy of the belt was not discussed.

"It seems to me that this is because the organisation really wants me to resume my career.

"This is understandable -- I spent nine years in the league, I had many fights, became a champion, defended the title, never lost, I have a huge fan base from around the world.

"My performances are already a kind of history. The desire of the UFC is understandable to me, I don't blame them. I will not hide -- they [try to] persuade me to return.

"There's nothing surprising about that. They offer conditions, fighters -- but it is hard to surprise me; they have no one to offer me. Soon, in a couple of weeks, we'll be meeting with Dana to discuss."

Khabib Nurmagomedov is not interested in coming out of retirement to fight Conor McGregor or Dustin Poirier in the UFC, having already "choked both".

Khabib, 32, stunningly announced his retirement from the octagon after beating Justin Gaethje to defend the lightweight championship at UFC 254 in October as he improved to 29-0.

UFC president Dana White has previously felt Russian star Khabib would perform a retirement U-turn and aim to take his flawless fighting record to 30-0.

But Khabib played down a possible rematch with McGregor or Poirier, who will go head-to-head in Abu Dhabi on January 23.

After forcing McGregor into submission in their UFC 229 blockbuster in October 2018, Khabib also made Poirier tap out with a rear-naked choke in September last year.

"What for? I choked both," Nurmagomedov said when asked about facing the winner of the McGregor-Poirier showdown. "Why I should do this?

"There is no sports interest there. I choked both of them, both were champions, both surrendered to me. As our proverb says: A horse doesn't run until the donkey wins.

"Donkeys don't even take part in competitions where horses run. I have no interest in fighting against these opponents.

"Imagine UFC offered you $100million. This is already a problem. But there is no sports interest there."

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