Entangled in one of the most infamous rivalries in the history of mixed martial arts, former two-weight world champion, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor has claimed that the recently retired lightweight champion, Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov is “afraid” of a potential re-run with him in the future.
McGregor, who is currently just over a week away from making his anticipated Octagon return, draws another former opponent, former interim 155-pound titleholder, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier in a five-round main event at UFC 257 from the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Emerge with a win, McGregor would firmly solidify his status as the next contender to the lightweight title, currently held by Nurmagomedov.
Meeting with UFC president, Dana White this afternoon in Abu Dhabi, Nurmagomedov’s immediate fighting future was the subject of discussion, with the two sharing a meeting behind closed doors. Attending a UAE Warriors event afterwards, White and Nurmagomedov, along with former UFC welterweight champion, Matt Serra and renowned coach, Din Thomas filmed an episode of Lookin’ for a Fight.
With details of Nurmagomedov’s fighting future still yet to be disclosed, McGregor who recently sat down with ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani for an interview which is scheduled for release this coming Sunday, told how he believes the undefeated Dagestani is fearful of a potential rematch.
“I think he’s (Khabib Nurmagomedov) is afraid to fight me, that’s for damn sure,” McGregor said in a brief snippet released tonight. “And I don’t blame him. I know everything, I know exactly what to face [in a rematch]. I fought the best of him that night, he fought the worst of me on that night (UFC 229). He knows it, I know it, his team knows it. I have the answer to destroy that man. He can pull the wool over people’s eyes for only so long.”
“It is what it is, I know there are surrounding things regarding the family and that,” McGregor detailed. “And if he’s retired and that’s it, I wish him well and it is what it is, but I am who I am and I am at the top. Time will show.”
When asked if he believes Nurmagomedov called time on his career out of fear regarding the prospect of standing opposite him once again, McGregor didn’t hesitate to confirm that belief.
“Yes, I would say so,” McGregor replied. “I think his hand was shown. He’s not a true fighter in my opinion. How could you walk away there are so many great fights to be had? Think of the (Nate) Diaz’s, the (Tony) Ferguson’s, there are so many wild fights — the (Charles) Oliveira’s, the rematch against me. I think it’s just preposterous to walk away. I think he just — not only did he sh*t on the bus, I think he pissed on the chips also, I think he showed his hand. But then at the same time, there is family issues, and it is what it is so. All the best.”
Nurmagomedov and McGregor memorably clashed at UFC 229 in October of 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada — with a bad-blooded build-up which crossed personal, ethical, and religious lines culminating with a post-fight brawl amongst both corners and combatants following the former’s fourth-round neck crank successful title defence.