Khabib Nurmagomedov isn't back just yet. But he's allegedly open to defending his UFC lightweight championship.
Speaking on the UFC on ABC broadcast, UFC president Dana White shared Nurmagomedov's comments from a conversation they had Friday night. White said that Nurmagomedov told him: "'I’m going to watch the two lightweight fights at (UFC) 257. If these guys do something spectacular and make me want to come back and fight I’ll fight.'"
By "these guys," Nurmagomedov is referring to the UFC 257 main event between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier and co-main event pitting Dan Hooker against Michael Chandler on Saturday, Jan. 23. So, according to White, if Nurmagomedov sees enough fireworks from McGregor-Poirier or Hooker-Chandler, it may lure him back into the Octagon to defend his lightweight strap.
This news comes after Nurmagomedov (29-0) delivered a second-round submission of Justin Gaethje via triangle choke on Oct. 24, 2020, and emotionally retired, having dedicated the victory to his late father. Naturally, all eyes will be on McGregor next Saturday night. If he can defeat Poirier in "spectacular" fashion, as Nurmagomedov said, it could possibly lay the groundwork for a Khabib-McGregor rematch.
Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor by fourth-round submission (neck crank) in October 2018. He followed that by making Poirier tap in September 2019.