Why Did Khabib Retire? Dana White Says UFC Star's Career Officially Over

UFC president Dana White has confirmed Khabib Nurmagomedov has officially retired from the sport, quashing rumors the Dagestani champion may fight again.

"29-0 it is. He is [100 percent] officially retired," White tweeted on Thursday, pointing to Nurmagomedov's undefeated record.

"It was incredible to watch you work @TeamKhabib, thank you for EVERYTHING and enjoy whatever is next my friend."

Speaking to ESPN on Thursday, White said he had met Nurmagomedov in Las Vegas and the lightweight champion had ruled out returning to the octagon.

"Khabib is retired and doesn't wanna hold up the division," he was quoted as saying. "Tonight was our final meeting and he is retired."

29-0 it is.

He is 💯 officially retired. It was incredible to watch you work @TeamKhabib thank you for EVERYTHING and enjoy whatever is next my friend. pic.twitter.com/QeoSP12zw2

— danawhite (@danawhite) March 19, 2021

The 32-year-old last fought on October 24, choking Justin Gaethje unconscious to defend his lightweight title in UFC 254 before abruptly announcing his retirement.

The shock decision came just three months after the death of his father, Abdulmanap, who had been placed in a medically induced coma in May because he contracted coronavirus following heart surgery.

Nurmagomedov said he could not continue fighting without his father and had promised his mother he would step away from UFC.

However, White repeatedly suggested that he hoped the Dagestani would reverse his decision. In January, the UFC president hinted Nurmagomedov could return to the octagon after the two met at a UAE Warriors MMA event in Abu Dhabi.

"In his last fight, his father had passed away," White told ESPN. "He'd been through a lot, away from his family during that time. [He] got injured while he was training and I thought he made an emotional decision.

"There's no reason to make a hasty decision like that when we didn't have to. I talked to him, told him to take his time, and we'd get together later on."

White added that Nurmagomedov could have been tempted to return by the fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier at UFC 257.

"If these guys do something spectacular, show me something spectacular, and make me want to come back and fight," he quoted the fighter as saying.

Poirier eventually defeated McGregor by TKO, but that wasn't enough to lure Nurmagomedov back.

Speaking to Russian channel Sport 24 earlier this week, the undefeated lightweight UFC champion confirmed his career was over and he wanted to keep the promise he'd made his mother.

"My mother is the most precious thing I have left," he said. "You won't push me to do things that will disappoint my mother.

"I don't even have plans for UFC in the near future. I don't even have any thoughts about preparing for a fight. I saw how [cousin] Umar was preparing now, and I thought, Alhamdulillah [praise be to God] I left it behind."

Dana White and Khabib Nurmagomedov
Dana White speaks with Khabib Nurmagomedov during a press conference for UFC 229 in Las Vegas on October 4, 2018. Nurmagomedov, the lightweight champion, retired undefeated in 2020. Isaac Brekken/Getty Images