Dana White has Khabib Nurmagomedov plan amid calls for Conor McGregor UFC rematch

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UFC president Dana White has claimed that he intends to pressure Khabib Nurmagomedov into a return to the sport amid reports that the Russian star could be talked into a sensational rematch with Conor McGregor. Nurmagomedov retired as the UFC’s lightweight champion in October after his victory over Justin Gaethje in Abu Dhabi, but rumours have swirled in recent weeks linking him with another shot at the Irishman, who was comprehensively beaten in their last meeting.

Nurmagomedov revealed after announcing his retirement that the main factor in the decision was the absence of his father, who died last year after battling coronavirus.

However, White has lifted the lid on his ambitions to coax the Russian back into the octagon, telling ESPN: “I think he should fight again and I’m going to press him as hard as I can for one more.”

Khabib is believed to have already agreed to speak to White about the prospect of another fight, with both parties scheduled to be in attendance at UFC 257 on January 23.

McGregor was forced to tap out when the pair clashed for the first time at UFC 229, with Nurmagomedov producing a world-class performance to defend the title from his controversial opponent.

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However, the action was marred by a post-fight melee which saw the leap out of the cage and into a brawl in the crowd, before McGregor was attacked by a member of his opponent’s entourage.

The Dublin-born fighter has not featured in a UFC billing since January last year when he claimed a technical knockout victory over Donald Cerrone, but will return later this month against Dustin Poirier.

He previously announced his retirement from mixed martial arts in June, but went back on his word four months later.

McGregor has also been tipped to fight American YouTuber Jake Paul, potentially following in the footsteps of former boxing opponent Floyd Mayweather who faces Paul’s brother Logan next month.

Speaking ahead of the highly-anticipated Poirier bout, White stated his opinion that McGregor is among the sport’s all-time greats and should be allowed the opportunity to put things right against Nurmagomedov.

The UFC chief also suggested that a rematch could take place as early as this year.

“No matter what you think of Conor personally, Conor McGregor is not only one of the best in the world, but one of the best to ever do it,” said White.

“And right now, he’s as focused as he’s ever been. I don’t know if this is going to be the same Conor after the Poirier fight, but if this Conor sticks around for the next year, how do you not do Khabib vs Conor again?”

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