If you ask Ali Abdelaziz, there’s a certain reason why Conor McGregor appears open to face UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in his return fight — money.
Nurmagomedov’s manager recently spoke to TMZ and said he believes McGregor, a former 155-pound champ who was stripped of his title earlier this year, is running low on cash. That is, of course, despite McGregor’s August 2017 boxing match against former world champ Floyd Mayweather, in which he earned approximately $100 million.
Abdelaziz said Nurmagomedov facing McGregor will help the Irishman make more money, as it’d be massive fight on pay-per-view, but also said the Russian champ is in.
“The last time I talked to Dana, he seemed this is the fight he wants to do,” Abdelaziz said. “This is the biggest fight in UFC history, the biggest money maker. Conor is running out of money; this is why he agreed to fight Khabib. It’s OK — we are going to contribute to him making some money, but at the end of the day, we owe him an ass whooping. We need to get this ass whooping for Khabib and get it out of the way.”
Abdelaziz made it clear (again) that he’s not a fan of McGregor, who last competed in MMA in November 2016 when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight strap.
“If this is what Dana wants, we will do it,” he said. “[Nurmagomedov] doesn’t like the guy. We don’t like the guy. We don’t like his team. We don’t like what they represent. We don’t like what Conor represents. I like some of the stuff he does, to be honest, but he thinks he’s a gangster — I don’t think he is. Gangsters, they end in jail or get beat up.”
At this time, Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor is not a done deal, but UFC president Dana White has said in recent months that he expects the fight to be put together soon enough. Abdelaziz said the bout could happen either in October or December at Las Vegas events, or in November at Madison Square Garden. The manager was doubtful of the latter option, however, as it’s not clear McGregor will be allowed to compete in New York due to his April bus attack.