The rumor mill around Russian champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s future has gone into overdrive after UFC boss Dana White posted a clip of the pair ushering each other into a meeting room before sitting at opposite sides of a table.
Promotion president White beckoned retired Nurmagomedov towards a meeting room at the start of the clip, which he captioned “here we go”.
The Dagestani superstar then took the upper hand as they approached the door, motioning White through by putting his hand to his back.
In a video that amassed hundreds of thousands of views within minutes, White then swiped the doorstop back with his foot before closing the door while the man he hopes to persuade to return to the sport stood inside.
The pair could be seen sitting opposite each other across a wooden table, with the original clip also shared by one of Nurmagomedov’s official channels, adding the tantalizing comment: “What did they talk about?”
A flurry of fan speculation inevitably followed the clearly-planned footage, ranging from pleas for Nurmagomedov to remain retired to desperate calls for White to succeed with his mission to lure the “Eagle” back to the octagon.
White had claimed that he expected the meeting, which was held ahead of the UAE Warriors 15 card in Abu Dhabi, to last “five minutes” and provide him with a straightforward “yes or no”.
It’s funny how Dana pushed him to assert dominance and Khabib turned around and pushed him in instead 😂
— Danos White 🅛 (@DanosWhite) January 15, 2021
You need Khabib, Khabib does not need you
— MMAOverwatch (@MMAOverwatch) January 15, 2021
Please don’t pitch a fight with Conor! That will not motivate him at all! GSP will be the only fight he wants. He’s beat both Conor and Dustin. He’s not interested!
— Rahshan Hayes (@rahshanh) January 15, 2021
Some viewers urged White to offer Nurmagomedov a rematch with former champion Conor McGregor, who he beat in 2018.
Should Nurmagomedov vacate the lightweight title he retained against Justin Gaethje before announcing his retirement in October, McGregor could fight for the belt when he faces Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on “Fight Island” in eight days’ time.
Nurmagomedov has strongly suggested that he intends to pursue his numerous other interests rather than attempt to extend his unbeaten MMA record, and the Dagestani offered a lighthearted angle on his showdown talks with White yesterday by reproducing a cinematic animation imagining how the meeting might proceed.