McGregor and Nurmagomedov have been involved in an extremely personal rivalry over the past few years. They competed against one another at UFC 229 in October 2018, with The Eagle’s UFC Lightweight title on the line. Their MMA fight ended with The Notorious One losing via fourth-round submission.
However, the mass brawl that ensued after the fight and their back-and-forth war of words in the following years is indicative of the fact that their rivalry is far from over. Speaking to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Conor McGregor opened up on Khabib Nurmagomedov, the latter’s retirement, and a potential rematch between the two.
“I think he’s afraid to fight me. That’s for damn sure. You know, and I don’t blame him. I know everything, I fought the best of him on that night (UFC 229), he fought the worst of me on that night; he knows it, I know it, his team knows it. I have the answer to destroy that man. So, you know, he can pull the wool over people’s eyes for only so long. So, you know, it is what it is. I know there’s surrounding things regarding the family and that. You know, if he’s retired, that’s it. I wish him well. It is what it is. But I am who I am, and I am at the top, you know. So, time will show.” said Conor McGregor
Intriguingly, Conor McGregor insinuated that Khabib’s father and longtime coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov’s passing is one of the reasons behind The Eagle’s retirement.
Conor McGregor believes Khabib Nurmagomedov isn’t a true fighter
MMA megastar Conor McGregor asserted that Khabib Nurmagomedov isn’t a true fighter.
In response to Ariel Helwani asking Conor McGregor whether he feels Khabib Nurmagomedov retired because he doesn’t want to fight McGregor, the Notorious One said:
“Ah, yes. I would say so. I think his hand was shown. He’s not a true fighter, in my opinion, you know. How could you walk away? There’s so many great fights to be had, you know what I mean? Like think of the Diazs, the Fergusons, you know. There’s so many wild fights; the Oliveiras, the rematch against me. I think it’s just preposterous to walk away. I think he just – Not only did he sh** on the bus, I think he pi**ed on the chips also. I think he showed his hand. But then at the same time, you know, there is family issues. And, you know, it is what it is. So, all the best.” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)
Conor McGregor faces Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on January 23rd, 2021 (the main card starts at 7 am on January 24th, local time in Abu Dhabi, UAE).