ABU DHABI – When UFC president Dana White and lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov met behind closed doors Friday, a handful of potential names were discussed to potentially come out of retirement. Former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre was not among them.
UFC lightweight contenders Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, Dan Hooker, and Charles Oliveira were among possible opponents floated for Nurmagomedov (29-0 MMA, 13-0 UFC) should he return. However, St.-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) wasn’t brought up as that ship has sailed because neither fighter is interested.
“Nope,” White said Saturday at the UFC on ABC 1 post-fight news conference. “GSP never came up. (Nurmagomedov) isn’t interested in that fight. From what I hear today, after that, neither is GSP. So, that’s over.”
Nurmagomedov and St-Pierre had 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 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.
As for what’s next for Nurmagomedov, White revealed during the UFC on ABC 1 broadcast that the champ will make a final decision following UFC 257 on Jan. 23. He wants to see if any performances jump out at him and give him the itch to come back for No. 30.
Nurmagomedov will fly to Las Vegas next week. Following the conclusion of UFC 257, White will follow suit. The two are expected to have dinner and discuss Nurmagomedov’s final decision over dinner shortly thereafter. This time, White expects he’ll finally get his yes-or-no answer.
“He’s cornering on Wednesday and then he leaves,” White said. “He leaves and goes to Vegas. I’ll have the fight and fly home on Sunday, and I’ll see him again in Vegas. Those fights will have played out. He and I are going to hook up and go to dinner in Vegas and talk again. We’ll make a decision. The one thing he did say is, ‘I won’t hold up the division.’”