It took a few months, but Dana White and the UFC have now officially acknowledged that now-former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is retired. A fight between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler is now planned for UFC 262 to determine who will now reign supreme over the division.
Nurmagomedov announced his retirement after he submitted Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October, marking the 29th win in his undefeated MMA career. However, there was still speculation that he might return for a thirtieth fight, and White in particular was insistent that the champ’s career wasn’t over just yet. The two seem to be on the same page now after meeting up for dinner, and White has publicly acknowledged that Nurmagomedov will not be returning.
Nurmagomedov also shared a message accompanying the photo of the two together.
“It was a good dinner with some great people.
@danawhite thank you so much brother and the entire @ufc team for the opportunity to prove myself, you guys have changed many [lives] forever because of this sport 👊
Dana – I’ll never forget your attitude towards me, my father did not forget and my sons will remember you.
Today there was a real conversation between real men.
Also thank you to all team, sparing partners and all fans.
I hope you will accept my decision and understand me.”
With the lightweight title officially vacant, Oliveira will step up to face Chandler at UFC 262 to see who will fill the slot. The May 15 card will also feature a lightweight fight between Beneil Dariush and Tony Ferguson.
Oliveira’s current winning streak spans eight fights, with his most recent fight seeing him defeat Tony Ferguson in the main event of UFC 256 back in December. Though that particular fight was left up to the judges, the submission artist finished all of his previous seven fights.
Chandler, for his part, has won six of his past seven fights. He’s currently on a three-fight winning streak, all of which he’s finished in the first round. Though Chandler has only recently joined the UFC (and made quite an entrance when he beat Dan Hooker via TKO at January’s UFC 257), he’s spent the past ten years making a name for himself with Bellator, where he defeated names like Benson Henderson and Brent Primus.
UFC 262 will take place on Saturday, May 15.