Khabib Nurmagomedov hasn't entirely closed the door on an Octagon return, according to UFC president Dana White.
White met with Nurmagomedov on Friday to discuss the lightweight champion's future. The Russian announced his retirement after a successful title defense at UFC 254 in October. But since then, White has remained confident that "The Eagle" would fight at least once more.
White revealed Saturday that Nurmagomedov wants to see "something spectacular" during the marquee lightweight bouts scheduled on next weekend's UFC 257 card. Dustin Poirier versus Conor McGregor 2 headlines the event, while Dan Hooker welcomes Michael Chandler to the Octagon in the co-main event.
"If these guys can do something special, Khabib will fight them," White said on the UFC Fight Night broadcast.
White added that Nurmagomedov doesn't intend to hold up the 155-pound division. The UFC president also said that Charles Oliveira's lopsided win over Tony Ferguson in December impressed the titleholder.
Nurmagomedov retired from mixed martial arts after a submission win over Justin Gaethje, saying at the time that he promised his mother it would be his final fight. His father and longtime coach, Abdulmanap, died in July.
Widely considered one of the greatest fighters ever, Nurmagomedov holds a 29-0 professional record.