Khabib Nurmagomedov is retired. He’s said it time and time again. However, UFC president Dana White’s persistence to persuade the former lightweight champion out of retirement has continued into the summer of 2021.
In a May appearance on Mike Tyson’s podcast, Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz revealed White recently placed on the table an extremely high-profile and lucrative offer to fight Georges St-Pierre. Despite the zeroes on the contract, Nurmagomedov (29-0) turned it down.
“He sent me a message and said, ‘Hey, Georges St-Pierre wants to fight with you,’” Nurmagomedov told MMA Junkie on Monday. “I said, ‘What can I do?’ I don’t know. I’m finished, you know? I think Georges is finished, too, you know. Let this guy be a legend. He’s 40 years old and I don’t understand why he has to fight. I think he has money, too. I’m finished. I’m really finished.”
At this point, Nurmagomedov, who retired in the cage in October after winning his 29th consecutive fight against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, is used to fielding the comeback questions. Not only that, he’s prepared himself for the same for years to come.
“I’m only 32 years old,” Nurmagomedov said. “People are going to talk about this (for) maybe the next seven (or) eight years. Because for MMA, a lot of guys on the top are 37, 38, 39. They’re still on the top. People are going to talk about this until that day comes I think.”
Nurmagomedov and St-Pierre (26-2) expressed interest in fighting one another in the past. Ahead of his 29-0 record-clinching victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 last October, Nurmagomedov name-dropped St-Pierre as an ideal opponent for his 30th (and then-thought to be final) fight.
Following Nurmagomedov’s retirement, St-Pierre deflected questioning as to whether or not he would have accepted the fight had it been offered and had Nurmagomedov not announced his retirement inside the cage.
St-Pierre, 40, has not competed since a one-off comeback fight against Michael Bisping at UFC 217 in November 2017. The fight was St-Pierre’s first in four years.