IMO it's different. Khabib just beat Conor. (Paulo had just lost to Kos & Palhares was 2-1 in his last 3) Khabib is the current champion (neither were champions) Khabib is unbeaten (well.. you get the jist) Khabib just became a lot more popular (since he fought Conor). Khabib CAN become a superstar if the UFC backs him up. plus he can open the door to Russia. A market still not really open to the UFC. But of course, he can also lose his next fight and become irrelevant, but that's what the UFC will weight in. The problem (for the UFC) is that Khabib ain't gonna wait to fight once more. UFC will have to decide which way to go now... ...then again, like you said, if history is to repeat itself, even if they decide not to bring back their jobs, they will sue Khabib to keep him under contract just so he can't go anywhere else for as long as they can prolong it. But they still lose. This battle will help no one.