Khabib Nurmagomedov has met with UFC president Dana White – who says he will make an announcement about the retired fighter’s future on Saturday.
It has fuelled speculation the 32-year-old is set to come out of retirement.
The undefeated Russian retired after beating Justin Gaethje to retain his lightweight title in October.
He has a perfect professional record of 29 wins, and is considered by some to be the greatest mixed martial arts fighter of all time.
White will make an announcement live on television before the main card at UFC Fight Island 7.
„I’m going to talk about his decision and how it will impact on the Poirier v McGregor fight next weekend, and the co-main event in the lightweight division,“ said White.
Former two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor has also come out of retirement to fight Dustin Poirier for a second time on 24 January.
McGregor lost to Nurmagomedov in October 2018, but the Irishman has recently told ESPN „he would destroy that man“ in a rematch.
Both White and Nurmagomedov teased fans on their social media platforms with pictures and videos, including footage of them entering a room together, before White closes the door on the camera.
As a result, both Nurmagomedov and McGregor were trending on social media.
Immediately after his victory over Gaethje at UFC 54 in Abu Dhabi, Nurmagomedov paid tribute to his father, coach and mentor Abdulmanap, who died in July following complications arising from Covid-19.
Despite many believing Nurmagomedov would chase his 30th professional win before contemplating retirement, the emotional champion asked his team-mates to cut his gloves off before quitting.
„It was my last fight. There’s no way I’m going to come here without my father,“ he said. „It was the first time after what happened with my father, when the UFC called me about (fighting) Justin, I talked with my mother for three days.
„She didn’t want me to fight without father, but I promised her it was going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.“