Calls for a rematch between Conor McGregor and UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov are heating up.
Nurmagomedov remains uninterested, even with talk of massive money on the line.
McGregor’s violent, swift knockout of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in his January return to the Octagon at UFC 246 led to immediate speculation over who’s next in McGregor’s three planned fights for 2020.
Dana White calls for rematch
UFC president Dana White stoked the flames in the immediate aftermath of the fight.
“[Nurmagomedov-McGregor] is a massive fight with global appeal,” White told reporters in the post-fight news conference. “It’s the fight that you make. It’s the fight that makes sense. Khabib versus Conor is the biggest fight in the sport’s history.”
Big money wants a rematch too
With rumors of a $100 million payday potentially awaiting via fight organizers in Saudi Arabia, Nurmagomedov remains focused on the “very serious” task at hand of his April title defense against Tony Ferguson.
“I have a fight on April 18,” Nurmagomedov said in a Tuesday news conference when asked about a McGregor rematch, per an RT Sport translation. “A very serious fight. ... What will happen after a fight no one knows.”
‘How can we even discuss a rematch?’
Nurmagomedov then scoffed at the idea of engaging in the “festivities” that come with fighting McGregor and exploded in a post-fight brawl after their 2018 fight that Nurmagomedov won via submission.
“I’m surprised that people even question me about a rematch,” Nurmagomedov continued. “It seems that people want to continue the festivities after that fight.
“Everyone saw what happened in the Octagon. I controlled the fight every step of the way. I did everything I wanted to him. He even gave up. How can we even discuss a rematch? We can only talk about continuing the festivities and making money.”
When asked to clarify if he’s interested in a McGregor fight, Nurmagomedov responded, “not at all”
He also had a suggestion with what to do with the rumored $100 million.
‘$100 million to beat up that idiot?’
“Why do I need that kind of money? There are so many organizations,” Nurmagomedov said before suggesting numerous sports-related charities that could use the help. “Let them give it to them if they don’t know what to do with the money. But giving me $100 million to beat up that idiot again? I don’t think that’s rational.”
Of course there’s no $100 million offer if there’s no Nurmagomedov-McGregor fight and the enormous profits that would come with it. Which is why this fight will almost certainly eventually happen.
Why waiting makes sense
But not likely next. As Nurmagomedov pointed out, he has a title fight with top-ranked lightweight contender Ferguson waiting on April 18.
And as much as people want to see Nurmagomedov-McGregor II, a match with Jorge Masvidal pitting two of the game’s biggest talkers and most exciting fighters against each other would also make for a tidy payday for everyone involved.
If McGregor would win that fight and Nurmagomedov tops Ferguson to remain unbeaten, a rematch would seem inevitable.
At that point, the money would likely speak volumes to Nurmagomedov.
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