Khabib Nurmagomedov: ‘I’ll Feel Relieved’ Vacating Lightweight Belt, GSP Fight Won’t Happen At 170

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Some fans have been calling for Khabib Nurmagomedov to vacate the lightweight title if he is not planning on fighting again. He recently addressed these concerns, as well as a potential fight with Georges St-Pierre.

It has been four months since Khabib beat Justin Gaethje and announced his retirement. However he is still being listed as the lightweight champion according to the UFC, and no interim title has been put in play.

This is certainly due to the fact that Dana White has insisted that he will persuade Nurmagomedov to fight again. Despite repeated attempts by the Dagestani to say he will not fight, Dana has had numerous meetings to try changing his mind.

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Khabib Nurmagomedov Wants The Division To Move On

On repeated occasions, Khabib Nurmagomedov has said that he just wants to see the lightweight division move on, with Dustin Poirier being his pick for the new top contender. The only thing remaining is for him to officially vacate the title.

Speaking with media after a recent EFC event, he continued to express desires to not hold up the rest of the division. In fact, he says that he would be happy to not have the belt, but he knows he will always be in the discussion at lightweight.

“Of course I’ll feel relieved (if I relinquish the belt). Like a weight off my shoulders. Let them just fight for the vacant title. Let them fight for the number one contender spot. I have no problem with that,” Khabib said.

“I have my people in this weight class — (Rafael) Dos Anjos, (Justin) Gaethje, Conor (McGregor), Dustin Poirier… Their future wins will keep my name as part of the talk around the place too. So let them move on and do some work for me now.”

As for whether or not the door would still be open for him to return, Khabib Nurmagomedov says that he will always be welcomed back by the UFC. Not only that, but he thinks that there will never be a time where he is not asked to come back.

“This door will always be open. I doubt I’ll have a single press conference without this question, ‘Are you thinking of a comeback?’ like it was yesterday. That speculation will always be there ” he explained.

“For example, when (Marvin) Hagler fought Sugar (Ray Leonard)… It was his last fight and he left boxing after that but people were still chasing him for a long time with that question ‘Will you come back?’

“He had 12 title defenses in a row back then, such a big star. But he just left. And never came back… But even after 10 years people still asked him the same question. So this question will be with me, too. And I accept it.”

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The GSP Fight Would Not Be At 170

The one opponent that seems to be able to draw Khabib Nurmagomedov back in, is former welterweight and middleweight champ Georges St-Pierre. The two have even been rumored to be preparing to fight each other recently.

GSP has said previously that if they were to fight, it would not be at 155lb, as he were too old to cut that type of weight. However Nurmagomedov says that he would not be willing to go up to 170lb to face someone who dominated that weight class for years.

“I won’t fight at 170, that’s for sure. It’s not my natural weight,” Khabib said.

“When I’m in shape, my weight is around 180. To cut down to (170) and weigh 176 on fight night against the best fighter of the weight class in the history of the sport?

“I am a lightweight champion. And if there’s an interesting option for me, I’d like it to materialize at lightweight. So I’m not fighting St-Pierre at 170, no.”

This is obviously disappointing news for those who still were holding out hope for a fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Georges St-Pierre. Unless it happens at a catchweight, it seems unlikely that either man will make the move in weight.

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Date: February 11, 2021

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