Rematch against Conor McGregor is just good money and drama, says Khabib Nurmagomedov
- Would the rematch make a lot of sense from the perspective of a classic championship duel?
The rivalry between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor is as real as it gets and the numbers UFC generated when the pair faced off in the headliner of UFC 229 back in 2018 is proof of the fact that the crowd loves the rivalry and the drama that unfolds when these two giants lock horns. And not to mention, the huge payday that accompanies a Conor McGregor fight is something most fighters are reluctant to ignore.
However, given how Nurmagomedov dominated the fight last time around, would the rematch make a lot of sense from the perspective of a classic championship duel? The undefeated Russian certainly doesn't think so.
Nurmagomedov has previously mentioned that he is unwilling to run it back with the Irishman simply because the contest was one-sided the last time around and according to him, McGregor has to earn the rematch by working his way up the lightweight ranks again.
However, since McGregor returned to the Octagon and decimated Donald Cerrone at UFC 246, UFC president Dana White has been mentioning that a rematch between 'The Eagle' and 'The Notorious One' is definitely on the cards.
“Cowboy always lose all his main event fights. Always. I don’t remember when he win. The last 10 fights, I think he lose six or seven fights. He’s not high-level lightweight or welterweight right now. He’s not. Of course he has a big name, but his time is finished. Conor picked a very good opponent. Now, he come back and beat Cowboy and then they talk about, ‘Okay, this guy’s come back.’ No, he has to fight with really tough opponents like Justin Gaethje or something like this. He has to come back to lightweight division, he has to cut weight. This is just my opinion.”
Nurmagomedov said that though a rematch against McGregor will be beneficial in terms of money and it has a lot to offer to the crowd in terms of drama but as a championship fight, it does not make sense.
“I think people want to see us continue what happened last time. They just want to see drama. If you ask people, ‘Guys, what do you think, who’s gonna win?’ 99 percent going to say ‘Khabib, like he did first time.’ Just 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 real championship fight."
The Dagestani fighter is scheduled to defend his title against Tony Ferguson in a highly anticipated fight at UFC 249 on 18th April. Speaking about the fight, Nurmagomedov revealed that he is genuinely motivated for the fight because Ferguson is probably the strongest fighter among the guys he's faced over the years.
“I think, just my opinion, my last couple of years, I compete with guys like Barboza, dos Anjos, Conor, Poirier, Iaquinta, all of these guys not tough like Tony Ferguson. That’s why now I feel I have real motivation. Of course, I work hard, but right now it’s a very, very tough opponent. Tony is not like these guys. He’s a little bit tougher than all of them.”Published 26 Feb 2020, 23:59 IST