Amid lingering questions about Khabib Nurmagomedov's possible return to the Octagon, UFC president Dana White said the MMA star is officially retired.
"29-0 it is," White tweeted. "[Nurmagomedov] is 100 officially retired. It was incredible to watch you work Khabib. Thank you for EVERYTHING and enjoy whatever is next my friend."
Nurmagomedov, arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, stunned the sport when he announced his retirement last October after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.
The Dagestani fighter retired as the lightweight champion with an undefeated career record of 29–0 and 13–0 UFC record.
Nurmagomedov's father and head coach, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, died in July 2020 due to COVID-19 complications, and the Russian champion said his father's death played a role in his decision to leave the sport.
"This was my last fight," Nurmagomedov said. "No way am I going to come here without my father. ... I promised [my mother] it will be my last fight. If I give my word, I have to follow this."
Despite his retirement announcement, White held out hope that Nurmagomedov might return to the sport.
White told ESPN on Thursday that he and Nurmagomedov met in Las Vegas, and the fighter reiterated that his career is over.
"Khabib is retired and doesn't wanna hold up the division," White told ESPN. "Tonight was our final meeting and he is retired."
In an Instagram post, Nurmagomedov referenced their dinner and thanked White and UFC "for the chance to prove myself."
With the championship belt vacant, White said UFC is finalizing a lightweight title fight between Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira for UFC 262 on May 15.