Conor McGregor has insisted he will keep fighting despite seeing his chance of a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov go up in smoke.
McGregor has long been desperate to avenge his defeat by the UFC lightweight legend after being choked out in 2018.
But after Nurmagomedov retired from the sport after his win over Justin Gaethje, McGregor insisted he will not follow him in hanging up his gloves.
He wrote on Twitter: “Good performance Khabib. I will carry on. Respect and condolences on your father again also. To you and family. Yours sincerely, The McGregors.”
McGregor may even benefit from his rival’s decision with his fight against Dustin Poirier on January 23 now likely to be for the vacant belt.
The pair have not signed contracts but have verbally agreed to meet for a second time having first fought in 2014.
After he executed a triangle choke on Gaethje in the second round, Nurmagomedov collapsed to the canvas in tears in remembrance of his father who passed away this year.
He said: Nurmagomedov said: “Thank you to these guys with me, with my father more than 10 years,” he said. “Coach Javier I love him so much, all my team. Thank you.
“Today I want to say this is my last fight. No way am I coming here without my father. When the UFC came to me about Justin I spoke with my mother for three days. She didn’t want me to fight without my father and I said this is my last fight and I have given her my word.
“There is only one thing I want from the UFC, to put me as No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, the greatest in the world. I think I deserve it. I want to say thank you Dana [and the] Fertita brothers.
“Thank you so much Justin. I know you are great, I know how you take care of your people. Be close with your parents, because you never know what is going to happen tomorrow. Thank you coach, thank you guys. Today is my last fight in the UFC.
“It was my father’s dream. Dustin [Poirier] and Conor [McGregor] will fight in January, I have choked both out, I am not interested in this.”