Khabib Nurmagomedov reiterated his desire to stay retired on Friday, ending speculation about a potential return that's circulated since his retirement announcement at UFC 254 in October.
"There will always be rumors about my comeback," said Nurmagomedov on RT Sport, according to ESPN's Ariel Helwani. "Because (UFC president) Dana White or other promoters who could replace him in the future will always want me to fight. It's all about big money, views, and media coverage. So I am sure they will keep chasing me.
"You just finished one fight and fans right away start looking forward to your next one. They always want the show to go on. But I have no plans to continue fighting."
While Nurmagomedov hasn't wavered, White has fueled rumors by saying multiple times he expects the undefeated lightweight champion to return. Despite Nurmagomedov's retirement, the UFC has yet to officially vacate his title.
"He was completely emotional that night when he got through that fight," White said five days after Nurmagomedov beat then-interim champion Justin Gaethje. "I have a feeling that he might go for 30-0.
"I think he's not gonna retire," White added. "His dad wanted him to get to 30-0, and I think he wants to honor his dad's wish."
Abdulmanap, Nurmagomedov's father and longtime coach, died in July from a heart condition that COVID-19 complicated.
After beating Gaethje, Nurmagomedov revealed he promised his mother that would be his final Octagon appearance. The 32-year-old also said he had no desire to fight without his father at his side.
The UFC has scheduled a bout between top 155-pound contenders Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier in January, but White has insisted the belt won't be on the line because of his belief Nurmagomedov will resume his career.
But Nurmagomedov, who became the UFC's No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter after beating Gaethje, believes there's nothing left for him to achieve.
"My goal was to reach the summit; I did it," said Nurmagomedov. "So I don't see any competitive interest to stay in the game. Who else is there to fight for me?"