Dana White and Khabib Nurmagomedov are set to have their hotly-anticipated meeting today on Fight Island.
The UFC boss is tasked with trying to convince Khabib to make a U-turn on his decision to retire and the lightweight champion is at least open to the possibility.
White has been in talks with Khabib and the pair will now meet in personGetty Images – Getty
The Eagle, 29-0, walked away from the sport after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 last October. He said he had promised his mother this would be his last fight and he didn’t want to fight on without his late father, Abdulmanap, in his corner.
White has maintained hope all along that he might be able to persuade Khabib to return and the lure of fulfilling his father’s wishes of either facing Georges St-Pierre or getting to 30-0 certainly linger.
White, meanwhile, has also talked about seeing the champion rematch with Conor McGregor.
According to Khabib’s coach, Javier Mendez, the king maker is set to pull out all the stops to get Khabib to return.
Khabib Nurmagomedov confirmed his retirement immediately after defeating Justin GaethjeGetty Images – Getty
Mendez told SunSport: “I think Dana has it in his mind to give him an offer he can’t refuse.
“Let’s face it, how many times has Dana failed at doing something he wanted to do? Not much. Dana does what he says.”
Ultimately, it may come down to what Khabib’s mother thinks.
If she still doesn’t want to see her son fight, it’s unlikely the Russian would go against that. However, Mendez thinks White will give the Nurmagomedov family a lot to think about.
The AKA chief said: “I think that if his mother says no, it’s no.
“But, I wouldn’t rule out the fact that Dana gives him something to talk to his mother about and get her blessing.”
So does Mendez think Khabib’s return will happen?
White has huge money riding on his talk with KhabibSportsfile – Subscription
He said: “I wouldn’t rule that [a return] out whatsoever. No way, no way.
“As far as I’m concerned, retired, not retired, fighting, not fighting, it’s all open.
“He’s young, he’s 32. So for me, I look at it like, ‘Okay, what do you want?’
“‘Oh, coach, let’s start training.’ Okay. ‘Coach, come help me train the team.’ Okay.”
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