Khabib Nurmagomedov has hinted that he will return to the UFC after posting a picture with the former CEO of the company and sending a message to the current president, Dana White.
The Eagle remains the UFC lightweight champion, despite announcing his retirement after beating Justin Gaethje in October, taking his record to 29-0 in the process.
White has been working hard to persuade the Dagestani to return to the Octagon ever since then, but has thus far been unsuccessful.
However, the UFC president has refused to give up on his quest and will be buoyed by Khabib’s latest message.
The 32-year-old posted a picture with former UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and captioned it: ‘It was good to see you Lorenzo. Dana White send me location.’ The fist emoji following that message will especially excite fans as it directly suggests a fight.
This could all be another tease from the Eagle, who has kept people guessing over his future ever since he announced his retirement in the Octagon in Abu Dhabi.
White has certainly not given up on Khabib fighting again, evidenced by the fact the Russian superstar still holds the 155lb title.
Speaking at UFC 259 on 6 March, White said: ‘We’re going to have dinner on Saturday or Sunday and just talk and see.
‘I think a lot of these fights have to play out in that division. From [number nine] all the way up to number one, they’re incredible fights.
‘Let some of these play out to see who will fight next for the title. I think if Khabib is interested, he’ll take the fight.
‘You don’t see Khabib saying, “Leave me alone. Stop asking me”. So there’s still a chance. That’s the way I look at it.’
It is not known what came of that dinner, but Khabib is clearly happy to keep everyone interested.
The fights that White expects to see ‘play out’ are the third bout between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor, Justin Gaethje taking on Michael Chandler, Tony Ferguson fighting Beneil Dariush while Charles Oliveira is the odd man out at the moment and needs a top level opponent.
Khabib’s teammate Islam Makhachev is a rising star of the division and is a potential opponent for the Brazilian, but the number three ranked Oliveira wants a title shot, not a contender, after winning his last eight fights.