Khabib Nurmagomedov has made his lack of desire to fight Conor McGregor again no secret. In an interview with TMZ on Wednesday, the UFC lightweight champion doubled down.
Nurmagomedov said fans only want a rematch between him and McGregor to see a continuation of “what happened last time.” In the lead up to their first fight at UFC 229 in October 2018, McGregor was arrested for throwing a dolly through a bus window in pursuit of Nurmagomedov. Following Nurmagomedov’s submission win, the two men and their respective teams got into an ugly melee at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“They just want to see drama,” Nurmagomedov said. “If you ask people, ‘Who’s going to win?’ Ninety-nine percent is going to say Khabib, like he did the first time, right? But people want to see a big drama show, only for this one. If we talk about money, this is good. If we talk about drama, this is good. If we talk about real lightweight contender or real lightweight championship fight, this is not good. This is not a real lightweight championship fight. But if we talk about drama and money, of course this is good.”
Nurmagomedov said he was not impressed at all with McGregor’s 40-second TKO win over Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 last month. That was McGregor’s first fight back since falling to Nurmagomedov, who blasted McGregor’s selection of opponent and his unwillingness to cut to lightweight. McGregor fought Cerrone at welterweight.
“[Cerrone is] not a high-level lightweight, or welterweight, right now,” Nurmagomedov said. “Of course he has big name, but his time is finished. … [McGregor] has to fight really tough opponents, like Justin Gaethje, or something like this. And he has to come back to the lightweight division, he has to cut weight.”
Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz told ESPN earlier this month that he doesn’t foresee Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor 2 happening. At least not in the Octagon.
“The only chance this fight could happen is in the street,” Abdelaziz said. “[McGregor would] have to do something spectacular. He’s s—, you understand?
“Conor McGregor is one of the biggest stars because he’s one of the biggest scumbags.”
Nurmagomedov said McGregor is “ducking” tough matchups. Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov’s next fight is a title defense against Tony Ferguson, one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC. That main event takes place at UFC 249 on April 18 in Brooklyn. Nurmagomedov is coming off a third-round submission win over Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 last September.
“Last couple years, I’ve competed with guys like [Edson] Barboza, [Rafael] dos Anjos, Conor, Poirier, [Al] Iaquinta, all of these guys [are] not tough like Tony Ferguson,” Nurmagomedov said. “And that’s why now I feel I have real motivation, because before when I have all these opponents, I think, OK, I can beat this guy. Of course I work hard, but right now, it’s like a very, very tough opponent. And we focus like always, but right now we have more focus, more hard work. Tony is not like these guys. He’s a little bit more tough than all of them.”
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