DANIEL CORMIER believes close friend Khabib Nurmagomedov could return to the UFC for one more fight.
Nurmagomedov announced a shock retirement following his win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, where he moved to 29-0.
It was the first fight since the loss of his influential father Abdulmanap, who passed away aged 57 in July after contracting coronavirus.
But Dana White later stated Nurmagomedov could come back to complete 30 fights, which was initially his dad's wish.
And DC followed up by admitting Khabib – the UFC's current No1 fighter – is usually a man of his word, but may be tempted with a lucrative comeback.
Cormier, 41, told ESPN: "I think that if you’re Dana White, you’re saying what you need to. Hope that that is what Khabib wants to do.
“I think if you’re Dana White and the UFC, you’re hopeful that’s what Khabib wants to do, but like I said last week, if Khabib Nurmagomedov gives his word, generally that’s a fact.
"Now, would I be surprised with the economic impact that a fight he could have could bring that could bring him back? No, and I would not judge him for that if he came back.
"He’s 32 years old for God’s sake and he can still beat everybody in the world. But there are things that if he says it’s his word, I take him at that.”
Nurmagomedov's announcement comes as Conor McGregor – who he beat in 2018 – closes in on finalising his UFC return.
White revealed McGregor, 32, rematching Dustin Poirier, 31, is a done deal after they were offered a January 23 headliner.
The UFC president also confirmed Nurmagomedov, 32, is STILL the lightweight champion, and has not been stripped.
It rules out McGregor challenging for the interim title immediately.
But Cormier explained if the Irishman was to reclaim the belt in Khabib's absence, it sets up a mammoth rematch between the pair in Abu Dhabi next October.
He said: “Could you imagine if McGregor gets ahold of the interim championship and now you go to Khabib and go, ‘Hey, October, Abu Dhabi, you and McGregor again, boatloads of money?'
"Because now, you’re Khabib, you walked away, you could say, ‘I want more,’ and there’s a good chance you’ll probably get more because that’s a home run.
"It’s a home run, you and McGregor.”
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