It’s not clear yet when and who Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight next, but it certainly looks like “The Eagle” is keen to fight this year. So much so, the lightweight champ is open to several different bouts.
Since Nurmagomedov secured the UFC’s lightweight crown in April, by defeating Al Iaquinta, the consensus / hope has been that he’ll fight Conor McGregor later this year. After all, it’s likely the biggest fight the UFC could put together, and the belief is that McGregor’s open to the bout, since he hasn’t talked about leaving 155. Further, there’s what happened at the media day for UFC 223…
That said, it’s not known yet how McGregor’s legal issues, as a result of the aforementioned incident, will play out. Thus, this could be why Nurmagomedov recently told Anatomy of a Fighter this (quote via MMA Fighting):
“If not Conor, if not GSP, I think Alvarez vs. Poirier, I think the winner deserves a title shot,”
Now, the chances of the UFC handing Georges St-Pierre a title shot, after he was forced to vacate the middleweight belt without ever defending it, are pretty slim. But, it’s interesting to see Nurmagomeodv mention the July 28th, Eddie Alvarez – Dustin Poirier bout. The winner could very well be in a position to challenge for the belt, if Tony Ferguson is still sidelined (which Khabib alluded to in the interview), and if McGregor isn’t ready to go.
Speaking of the latter, here’s what Nurmagomedov had to say about facing the former champ:
“If they want to make make money, let’s go,” Nurmagomedov said. “Khabib vs. Conor, country vs. country, fans vs. fans. It’s gonna be very big, one of the biggest – I think biggest match-up in UFC history, me vs. Conor. Without bus, without other things, we just have to fight but I don’t think the UFC can make the decision about this fight. About this fight, I think only Conor can make this decision. If he wants to lose and make money, he has to say yes and sign this contract and come back because people forget about when he fought last time.”
Yup. It certainly seems like the UFC has had a down year, but if the promotion can close out 2018 with Nurmagomedov – McGregor, that could definitely turn things around.
The galaxy class grappler also said that he’ll be ready to fight in September or October.