Although Khabib Nurmagomedov worked his way to a pretty dominant, submission win over Conor McGregor at UFC 229, talk about a rematch is still making the rounds. But, according to one of the champ’s teammates, Luke Rockhold, the UFC will need to pay up big time, in order to make that happen.
Whether it’s because of the post-fight brawl that went down on Saturday night, or the fact McGregor is the biggest name in MMA, there’s been widespread discussion about the former champ getting another shot at Khabib. Despite the fact Nurmagomedov won rounds one and two, and then submitted McGregor in round four.
“If you want a rematch, if the people want a rematch, if they are going to buy into a rematch, they are going to have to pay Khabib,” said Rockhold.
“Khabib doesn’t need anything at this point in his life. So they are going to have to give him a very, very hefty paycheck. Probably the biggest paycheck in the world, in the history of MMA guaranteed on his side.”
“I know Khabib, I have talked with Khabib and if you want a rematch, he will demand a record-breaking number.”
That’s one element of this that’s been overlooked somewhat in the discussion about a rematch. Would Khabib even agree to it? If you’ve followed Nurmagomedov over the last year or so, you know that he repeatedly questioned McGregor’s status as a top lightweight, and argued he wasn’t deserving of a title shot. Instead, Khabib often relayed that the fight to make was against Tony Ferguson, due to “El Cucuy’s” remarkable run.
So, now that Nurmagomedov has defeated McGregor, and done so convincingly, no one should be surprised if he holds out for a massive payday (before agreeing to a rematch). And can you blame him?
That aside, if you’re hoping to see an immediate rematch take place, these comments probably are disconcerting. Would Khabib – McGregor 2 be big enough to warrant the UFC handing the champ a much, much larger, piece of the pie? Probably. But the promotion will likely take some time to see how the dust settles, in terms of Khabib’s issues with the Nevada Commission, before exploring a rematch.
There also seems to be a lot of people who aren’t on board with McGregor getting an immediate rematch. After all, if it was anybody else but McGregor, there’d be no question that the former interim champ, Mr. Ferguson, should be next for Khabib.