One of the biggest questions going into UFC 257 is whether Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier will be for the lightweight championship if Khabib Nurmagomedov stays retired.
UFC president Dana White plans to speak to Nurmagomedov this week in Abu Dhabi. However he made it clear during a conversation with ESPN that the fight won't be for the interim or undisputed belt if Nurmagomedov decides he will stay on the shelf.
"If Khabib does retire, then whoever the highest-ranked guy is at the time will end up facing Conor if Conor beats Poirier and would end up fighting for the title, I'm sure," White said.
Nurmgomedov (29-0) retired after submitting Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October. He walked away because he promised his mother he'd no longer compete after his father passed away in the summer due to COVID-19 complications.
White hasn't stripped him of the belt with the hope of luring him into one more fight, preferably the rematch against McGregor if he gets by Poirier. Nurmagomedov and McGregor netted the highest buyrate in UFC history with over 2.4 million buys for UFC 229, which saw Nurmagomedov win via fourth-round submission.
"As a promoter, you always want the best guys in the world," White said. "But when a guy wants to retire, he probably should.
"But the difference with a guy like Khabib is that he's been through so much, and losing his dad is such a major blow to him. It was something that they did together, and his dad wanted him to hit 30-0. But as a fight fan, I want Khabib to fight 10 more."