Dana White has said he could see Khabib Nurmagomedov – Conor McGregor II happening sometime this year, but it doesn’t look like that bout’s on the radar of the UFC lightweight champ…at all.
Since Nurmagomedov submitted McGregor at UFC 229, there’s been a tee-un of talk about who will be next for the galaxy class grappler. Although there’s little doubt that from a meritocratic perspective, Tony Ferguson deserves a title shot next, because Nurmagomedov – McGregor 2 would do big business, many believe it could be tabled for this year. In fact, recently Khabib’s coach Javier Mendez said he’d like to see that rematch take place at Cowboys Stadium.
“I have a big team . . .and everybody thinks a little bit different,” Khabib said. “If you talk about it, my father thinks different, Javier thinks different, my management thinks different. But when the athletic commission makes a decision, we’re gonna sit with my old team and make a decision what I’m gonna do next. But right now, if you guys ask me, of course he not deserve a title shot rematch, Conor, because he lose, he tapped. It wasn’t a close fight. I dominated him everywhere in every aspect and I beat him. Like a told, I smashed him. Why we need a rematch?”
“…I don’t know right now,” Khabib said. “Why not maybe (Georges) St. Pierre, Ferguson and (Floyd) Mayweather, it will be these three guys and we can retire and become the greatest athlete of all time.”
When you consider all the comments Khabib has made about Conor’s legitimacy as a champion and or contender, both before and after UFC 229, the statements above shouldn’t come as a surprise. Is it possible that Khabib could agree to a rematch? If the UFC offered him a lot more guaranteed money? Maybe. But, it also looks like McGregor could be coming around to the idea he’s not getting an immediate rematch. This past weekend he responded to Donald Cerrone’s callout by saying he’d fight him.
Where things could get really interesting is if Conor fights, say Cerrone, and wins, and Khabib defends the belt against Ferguson. You would think the UFC would push very hard for Nurmagomedov – McGregor II to happen afterward in that scenario, and if Khabib refuses to take that fight, tensions will undoubtedly rise.