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Sport Dana White to meet with Khabib again, let lightweight division unfold before booking title fight

03:11  05 march  2021
03:11  05 march  2021 Source:   mmajunkie.com

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LAS VEGAS – Another meeting between UFC president Dana White and Khabib Nurmagomedov is on the books.

Khabib Nurmagomedov standing in front of a crowd: khabib-nurmagomedov-dana-white-ufc-229-press-conference © File photo khabib-nurmagomedov-dana-white-ufc-229-press-conference

This weekend, White and his lightweight champion will once again meet over dinner to discuss business. According to White, Nurmagomedov – who’s in Las Vegas to corner Islam Makhachev – hasn’t budged on his boss’ pitches to bring him out of retirement, but White isn’t giving up.

For White, the division isn’t being held up by this decision, meaning the pursuit of un-retiring Nurmagomedov (29-0 MMA, 13-0 UFC) can continue with the Dagestani fighter as UFC champ.

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“We’re going to have dinner on Saturday or Sunday and just talk and see,” White said at a UFC 259 pre-fight news conference held Thursday at the UFC Apex. “I think a lot of these fights have to play out in that division. From (No. 9) all the way up to No. 1, they’re incredible fights. You can mix or match them any way you want and they’re really good fights.”

So White’s plans for now are clear. As he continues to try to lure Nurmagomedov back in, he’ll let the rest of the lightweight contenders battle it out in non-title fights. The UFC president isn’t ruling out a bonafide No. 1 contender won’t be the attraction Nurmagomedov needs to return.

“Let some of these play out to see who will fight next for the title,” White said. “I think if Khabib is interested, he’ll take the fight. You don’t see Khabib saying, ‘Leave me alone. Stop asking me.’ So there’s still a chance. That’s the way I look at it.”

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Nurmagomedov, 32, has not competed since UFC 254 in October when he defeated Justin Gaethje by second-round submission. Following the official decision, Nurmagomedov announced his retirement inside the cage, citing a promise to his mother in the wake of his father’s death last summer.

White and Nurmagomedov have met multiple times since then. However, Nurmagomedov hasn’t budged despite White’s tries.

UFC 259 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.

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