A rematch between UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and past champion Conor McGregor would be among the most popular fights in MMA history and make both men millions of dollars.
However, one of them still doesn’t seem very eager about the idea.
Nurmagomedov poured his latest dose of cold water on a potential McGregor rematch in the near future, telling the Associated Press that the Irishman has a lot of work to do before getting another shot at the belt:
“As for a rematch, to fight for a belt in the UFC, I remember I had something like nine or 10 fights. If he wins 10 fights in a row, then that’s completely possible,” Nurmagomedov said.
Ah yes, 9 or 10 wins in a row. Totally doable for the 31-year-old McGregor. This is in line with past comments on McGregor from Nurmagomedov’s camp, like calling for the Irishman’s arrest, claiming McGregor begged for his life in their first fight and calling him an unworthy opponent.
Of course, a potential rematch isn’t a matter in which Nurmagomedov has final word, but it does show how much the Russian doesn’t want to step back into the Octagon with McGregor.
Khabib and McGregor’s history
The antagonistic relationship between two of the most famous fighters in the world is well known to anyone that has even lightly followed the UFC in recent years.
The fireworks began when Nurmagomedov got into a hotel scuffle with a friend of McGregor’s in April 2018 and escalated when McGregor attacked a bus containing Nurmagomedov and other fighters soon after.
The hostility continued in the run-up to the pair’s title fight at UFC 229, as McGregor frequently taunted Nurmagomedov’s Muslim faith and his family. It boiled over after Nurmagomedov tapped McGregor, as the Russian infamously jumped out of the Octagon to attack another of McGregor’s friends while Nurmagomedov’s own side attacked a defeated McGregor.
Suspensions followed, as did McGregor’s continued racist barbs. The situation reached a low point when UFC president Dana White had to step in after McGregor tweeted a picture of Nurmagomdeov’s wife in a hijab and called her a towel, to which Nurmagomedov responded by calling him a rapist.
So you can see why Nurmagomedov might not want to put the fame and money of a rematch into McGregor’s pocket unless he absolutely has to.
Tony Ferguson next for Khabib
Rather than fight McGregor, Nurmagomedov will likely face a worthy challenger in No. 1 lightweight contender Tony Ferguson. Meanwhile, McGregor has announced his first fight since UFC 229 will come on Jan. 18, opponent TBD.
Ferguson has infamously had four announced fights against Nurmagomedov cancelled due to health issues on both sides, but holds a 12-fight win streak and could be a legitimate threat for the champion. If a fifth scheduled fight has to be cancelled, guess who White has already cited as making “a lot of sense” as a fill-in.
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