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UFC boss Dana White has confirmed the official retirement of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov following his win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.
The Eagle, 32, announced his initial intention to step away from the sport following his third title defence, which was in part due to the passing of his father Abdulmanap last year.
Despite that, Khabib has held talks with White over a potential return over the past six months – but his final decision to vacate his belt and leave the promotion has now been confirmed.
In addition, Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira will fight for the vacant title at UFC 262 on May 15, with Conor McGregor now fifth in the rankings with Dustin Poirier top.
White tweeted on Thursday evening: “29-0 it is.
“He is officially retired. It was incredible to watch you work @TeamKhabib thank you for EVERYTHING and enjoy whatever is next my friend.”
With Khabib adding: “It was a good dinner with some great people.
“Dana White thank you so much brother and the entire UFC team for the opportunity to prove myself, you guys have changed many live forever because of this sport.
“Dana – I’ll never forget your attitude towards me, my father did not forget and my sons will remember you.
“Today there was a real conversation between real men.
“Also thank you to all team, sparing partners and all fans. I hope you will accept my decision and understand me.”
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When asked what Khabib made of McGregor’s defeat to Poirier in January, White said: "I did talk to Khabib.
“And he said to me, 'Dana be honest with yourself. I'm so many levels above these guys, I beat these guys.'
“I don't know. But it doesn't sound very positive. We'll see.”
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- Khabib Nurmagomedov
- Dana White
- Conor Mcgregor
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