Khabib Nurmagomedov makes retirement U-turn with three-word message to UFC

Khabib Nurmagomedov has dropped his biggest hint yet that he will come out of retirement and fight again.

The Dagestani announced he was hanging up his gloves last October following the third defence of his lightweight title against Justin Gaethje.

He revealed he had promised his mother that he would not fight on without his father in his corner after he passed away following a battle with Covid-19.

But UFC president Dana White refused to give up  hope of convincing his champion to return for a 30th fight. 

And Nurmagomedov has now met with former UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and later tweeted: "It was good to see you Lorenzo. Dana White, send me location."

"Send me location" has become the champion's trademark phrase after first using it in 2018 to call out Conor McGregor.

White has steadfastly refused to strip his champion of his belt and instead plans to hold an unofficial tournament to decide his next 155lb champion.

He claimed Nurmagomedov had told him that he would return if he was impressed by either McGregor or Dustin Poirier in their rematch at UFC 257 earlier this year.

But despite Poirier's second-round stoppage victory, Nurmagomedov was reluctant to commit to a return.

McGregor and Poirier are now due to fight for a third time this summer while Gaethje is set to take on Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson will face Beneil Dariush.

Nurmagomedov won the vacant 155lb title in 2017 when he beat Al Iaquinta who stepped in to replace Max Holloway who had in turn replaced the injured Ferguson.

He then defended his title against McGregor the following year, choking out the Dubliner to bring an end to their bitter feud.

He did the same to first Poirier and then Gaethje with neither man making it out of the third round.

McGregor has long insisted he would beat Nurmagomedov in a rematch having blamed his defeat on his erratic preparations.

He had hoped to lure the champion into a sequel by knocking out Poirier for a second time.

But his shock defeat looked to have ended those hopes – although Nurmgomedov's announcement may give him renewed hope.

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