Prior to UFC 257, Dana White was doing everything possible to try to lure Khabib Nurmagomedov out of retirement for one more fight.
However, after Dustin Poirier shocked Conor McGregor via second-round TKO on Saturday, White was left rather deflated, saying the prospects of the lightweight champion returning to the Octagon now don't look too bright.
"I did talk to Khabib and he said to me, 'Dana, be honest with yourself ... I'm so many levels above these guys. I beat these guys,'" White shared during the UFC 257 post-fight press conference. "I don't know ... but it doesn't sound very positive. What he said was, I told you guys before, he won't hold the division up. He already retired. He basically retired. I'm the one that's been trying to get him to do one more."
That's going to be hard to pull off now, following Poirier's stunning win over McGregor. The upset not only dashed the hopes of a Khabib-McGregor rematch, but it might keep Nurmagomedov retired. After all, Khabib defeated McGregor by fourth-round submission (neck crank) in October 2018 and scored a third-round submission (rear-naked choke) of Poirier in September 2019, giving more credence to Nurmagomedov telling White that he's levels above his counterparts.
That being said, Khabib did, however, offer a parting shot seemingly in the direction of his rival McGregor.
This is what happened, when you change your team, leave the sparring partners who made you a champion and sparring with little kids, far away from reality.— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) January 24, 2021
White wouldn't delve into possibly giving Nurmagomedov a deadline to make a decision, considering he's still the reigning, undefeated lightweight champ. If anything, fight fans will naturally wonder if Khabib has any interest in fighting former Bellator champion Michael Chandler, who sparked Dan Hooker via first-round TKO (punches) in his UFC debut Saturday, before calling out Nurmagomedov.
"Dustin Poirier, your time is coming," Chandler said on the pay-per-view after declaring himself as the new king of the lightweight division. "Khabib, if you come back for No. 30, you have to beat somebody. So, try and beat me if you can!"