One of Conor McGregor's biggest rivals, Khabib Nurmagomedov, stepped away from the in-ring politics to shed light on McGregor's surprise retirement. 

While speaking at Moscow University in his native Russia, Nurmagomedov explained that McGregor "quitting" the UFC is a tactic to prove how valuable his persona is to the company. "[McGregor] couldn't reach a deal with the UFC," Nurmagomedov said, "and it's so they feel they've lost him and they could lose money." The fighter went on to declare, "I don't think he's finished."

If Nurmagomedov's speculations are true, this would be the latest development in the stalemate between McGregor and the UFC. For years the Irish-born fighter has been open about wanting stock in the UFC in exchange for his fights. These pleas grew into an ear-blistering roar after McGregor's boxing match against Floyd Mayweather. During this crossover event, McGregor was given the opportunity to be a partner in the promotion and sale of the fight. This made McGregor want to make a harder push for UFC president Dana White and investors to reward him with shares.

McGregor claims that his presence and personality helped build the UFC into the brand it is today. Not only did he headline five of the six top-selling pay-per-views in UFC history, McGregor was also the first fighter to hold championship belts in two divisions at once. Because of this, he has openly stated he won't fight until he's given the stock he deserved.

Now, McGregor and the UFC are waiting to see which one will blink first. Although Conor's retirement could have a massive impact on the UFC's expansion, McGregor is also a waning star who hasn't won a match since 2016. Still, the UFC is left with slim options. They must either reward McGregor his shares, let him fight Mark Wahlberg for a stake in the company, or try to replace Conor's out-of-the-ring showmanship.

"He's stuck on this thing where he wants a piece of the ownership and that's just—if you look at basketball, Michael Jordan didn't own a piece of the league, and the list goes on and on," White explained. "Is Conor very valuable to the sport and to the brand, the UFC? Of course he is. That's a tough one, but I think there's other ways that we can make him happy."