Dana White has just revealed that he has still been trying to coax Khabib Nurmagomedov to return from retirement even recently, and has offered the UFC legend a grappling match to try and entice him to take the offer. Unfortunately for fans everywhere, Nurmagomedov also allegedly turned down the offer from White and will not be making a return to combat sports in any fashion. The UFC hall of famer retired from professional MMA competition after his submitting Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 and bringing his record to a perfect 29-0, but rumours have been circling for quite some time that he might make a return to grappling instead.
Not only have several Jiu-Jitsu stars called out Khabib Nurmagomedov for a grappling match, but his fellow retired MMA legend Georges St-Pierre has also been a name on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Both men have been retired from active competition for some time now, so the match seemed quite far-fetched. That is, until St-Pierre revealed that he was open to the idea and would be interested in stepping onto the mats to face Nurmagomedov. Tony Ferguson was another name that has been floated by MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz but so far, none of the proposed opponents have been enough to tempt Nurmagomedov out of retirement.
While it might seem unlikely that you could tempt an MMA legend into a grappling match, there’s actually plenty of precedent there. Many MMA athletes have taken grappling matches and even Nurmagomedov himself competed in and subsequently won the 2012 NAGA World Championships. Even as far back as 2009 when Nurmagomedov was in the early days of his MMA career he was taking BJJ matches, losing a close match Russia’s first black belt Leonid Gatovskiy.
It’s not as if Nurmagomedov has retired to his sofa either, he’s still been seen grappling in training with veterans like Luke Rockhold and it doesn’t look like he’s missing a single step. Dana White spoke to Sportskeeda about Khabib Nurmagomedov and his potential return from retirement, revealing that he did actually offer him a grappling match in the below official comment:
“It’s funny that you asked or it’s weird that you asked me that question, actually [about Khabib’s return from retirement]. I just reached out to him recently to see if he’s interested in something and he was like: “I’m retired, brother. I’m done.” I don’t think Khabib ever comes back. It was something different, I was trying to get him to do a grappling match. He’s like: “I’m done. I’m retired.” I think that when his father passed away, that was a wrap for him and he’s just focused on training other guys and helping them become world champions.”