Dana White on possible McGregor vs Khabib rematch: “You can say whatever you want, Conor McGregor versus Khabib, the rematch, is a massive fight”
UFC President Dana White has fuelled talk of a rematch between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor by stating that the former would step back into the octagon if he was left impressed by a ‘spectacular’ performance.
Following a scheduled meeting on Friday between Nurmagomedov and White in Abu Dhabi, White announced that the reigning UFC lightweight champion could be open to competing again depending on how the contenders at UFC 257 – McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Dan Hooker, and Michael Chandler – perform this weekend. Top contender Charles Oliveira was also mentioned as having caught Nurmagomedov’s eye.
“I knew that he made the decision under unbelievable emotional stress and his dad died,” said White. “He got hurt during that camp, couldn’t even train right, couldn’t cut weight right. I mean all the things that he went through and then went out and performed the way th at he performed and then made that decision that night.
“I said, listen, you’re not tying anything up, just go home, spend some time with your family, heal up, think about it. And then he and I got together and he’s like I want to see if somebody really blows me away and impresses me next week.
“You got the co-main event and the main event. And obviously Oliveira looked awesome against Tony Ferguson, so that’s an interesting fight to him. And we’ll see what these guys do this weekend.”
One prospect that will attract the attention of MMA fans is a rematch between Nurmagomedov and McGregor, the latter of whom makes his return to lightweight this weekend for the first time since his loss to the Russian back at UFC 229 in 2018.
“Conor said he’s going to blow everybody’s minds on Saturday, so if that’s true and he does that in spectacular fashion, because we all know Poirier is not the same guy that he fought the first time,” continued White. “You can say whatever you want, Conor McGregor versus Khabib, the rematch, is a massive fight. If Connor should win in spectacular fashion, it would even be hard to say that he doesn’t deserve the shot.”
Nurmagomedov announced his retirement in October, following a second-round submission of Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 254. The win saw Nurmagomedov extend his MMA record to 29-0 and after the fight said that he had made a promise to his mother that UFC 254 would mark his last fight.
But with questions over the lightweight champion’s future, White has made it clear that Nurmagomedov won’t hold up the division.
“I fly home on Sunday and I’ll see him again in Vegas,” said White. “So those fights will have played out. He and I are going to hook up and go to dinner in Vegas and talk again and we’ll make a decision.
“The one thing that he did say is I’ll never hold up the division. So he’s either going to fight somebody or he’s going to walk away.”