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19th Mar 2021

UFC announce lightweight title fight after Khabib officially retires

Patrick McCarry

‘The Eagle’ steps away from the sport with a 29-0 record.

Khabib Nurmagomedov has met with UFC president Dana White and has officially confirmed the retirement decision that he first signalled in November 2020 after defeating Justin Gaethje.

Nurmagomedov had vowed to his mother that he would step away from fighting after he defended his title one final time. His father and trainer, Abdulnap, passed away after contracting Covid-19 last summer. The Dagestani wrote:

‘Dana White, thank you so much brother and the entire UFC team for the opportunity to prove myself, you guys have changed many live forever because of this sport. I’ll never forget your attitude towards me, my father did not forget and my sons will remember you. Today there was a real conversation between real men.

‘Also thank you to all team, sparing partners and all fans. I hope you will accept my decision and understand me.’

With the champion’s retirement officially confirmed, White and the UFC have announced a fight for the vacant 155lbs title at UFC 262 in May.

While the likes of Dustin Poirier, Gaethje, Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson would have all been hoping to fight for that strap, White and the UFC have opted for two in-form stars.

Charles Oliveira will get the opportunity to go for UFC gold in May at the Pay-Per-View event. ‘Do Bronx’ will take on former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler, who announced himself to UFC followers by brutally defeating Dan Hooker at UFC 257, earlier this year.

Poirier and Gaethje both had equally good cases to be fighting for gold, with ‘The Diamond’ demanding another crack at the undisputed title when he beat McGregor, back in January.

Ferguson will be on the undercard for the PPV event as he takes on fellow lightweight Beneil Dariush. ‘El Cucuy’ will be hoping for a performsnce that gets him back on a winning track and into the title picture, later this year.