After defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 last weekend in Abu Dhabi, Khabib Nurmagomedov stunned the MMA world by announcing his retirement.
UFC President Dana White did not see that coming.
“No, nobody knew – not even his coach,” White said on The Zach Gelb Show. “Nobody knew.”
Nurmagomedov scored a second-round TKO against Gaethje to unify the UFC’s 155-pound championship and improve to 29-0. White, though, does not believe this was Nurmagomedov’s last fight.
“Khabib and I have been talking," White said. "He was completely emotional that night when he got through that fight. I have a feeling that he might go for 30-0.”
Nurmagomedov was fighting for the first time since his father, Abdulmanap, passed away in July due to heart complications made worse by COVID-19. In 2019, Abdulmanap told a Russian news outlet that he wanted his son to get to 30-0 and retire.
White thinks Nurmagomedov has one more fight in him.
“I think that he's not going to retire,” White said. “His dad wanted him to get to 30-0, and I think he wants to honor his dad's wish.”