Conor McGregor has received a UFC rankings boost following the retirement of his bitter rival Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The unbeaten Russian fighter initially announced he would no longer be competing following victory over Justin Gaethje in October 2020.
Despite this, Nurmagomedov was still ranked the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world with a 29-0 record, as McGregor slipped out of the top 15 off the back of a defeat to Dustin Poirier in his last bout.
However, UFC president Dana White announced that 32-year-old UFC Lightweight champion was “100% officially retired” following a meeting between the two.
“Thank you for EVERYTHING and enjoy whatever is next my friend.” White wrote on Twitter.
This development means Nurmagomedov is removed from the rankings, allowing McGregor to re-enter in 15th place.
The Irishman, a former holder of the UFC featherweight and lightweight titles, has seen his stock fall in the sport following a difficult two years.
Following his submission defeat in a bad-tempered battle with Nurmagomedov in 2018, both fighters received fines and bans following a brawl after the match.
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McGregor’s return in 2020 saw him easily defeat Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds but a shock second round loss to Poirier in January played a major role in his continued fall down the rankings.
A rematch with Poirier is expected to be announced for later in the year, while McGregor also appears to have his sights set on regaining Nurmagomedov’s vacated title.
“The 155lb World Champion. Book it!” he tweeted referring to himself, and instructing White and the UFC to schedule a fight.