With Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement still unclear following his recent meeting with UFC boss Dana White, the Russian lightweight champion has suggested that a legacy-defining fight with fellow icon Georges St-Pierre is unlikely.
Khabib met with White for a ‘Fight Island’ summit last week where it was thought that the UFC president would throw fistfuls of cash at the dominant 155lbs champion to compel him to return to the octagon for one more fight in pursuit of what would be an unmatched career ledger of 30-0.
However, and contrary to White’s promise of a definitive answer from Nurmagomedov, the response he received was a ‘maybe’ – with Khabib saying that he might be tempted to return if at least one of the four lightweight contenders in this weekend’s UFC 257 featured fights (Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Dan Hooker or Michael Chandler) put on the type of all-action display which could entice him back to the cage.
While we await those fights, another name repeatedly linked with Nurmagomedov is that of fellow UFC legend, and former welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
The Canadian superstar has been out of action since announcing his retirement shortly after winning 185lbs gold against Michael Bisping in New York City in 2017 but was reportedly close to a comeback to fight Khabib, before those talks were met with a stalemate and GSP retreated into retirement once more.
With Khabib’s current status still unclear, the St-Pierre links have raised their head once more – but speaking to the media on ‘Fight Island’ Khabib appeared to suggest that GSP isn’t interested in any prospective fight with him.
“GSP? He doesn’t want to fight with me,” Khabib told MMA personality ‘The Schmo’ who was mid-interview with former fighters Matt Serra (the last man to defeat St-Pierre) and Din Thomas.
“I just talked with him in Instagram direct. Now you want [me] to talk about him bad? I have to see this guy. GSP, when are you going to come back?“
St-Pierre’s reluctance to compete dates back to when he announced a hiatus from the sport back in 2013 – but has fought just once since then, the November 2017 submission victory against Bisping.
The UFC legend is due to turn 40 this year, so it stands to reason that the clock is very much ticking if the mooted fight between St-Pierre and Khabib is to come to fruition – but Khabib could well be facing the same type of media questions about his own fight status for much of the next ten years if his professional record remains rooted at 29-0.
Speaking to the media on Fight Island, UFC boss White said the idea of a Khabib-GSP megabout was effectively now off the table.