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Khabib: Even if UFC strip me of belt, McGregor and Ferguson will always be second best

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“When I’m in the UFC, Tony always is going to be the interim champion, and always, Conor [McGregor] is going to be No. 2 while I’m here.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov may be out of the UFC 249 main event, but so long as ‘The Eagle’ is under UFC contract, he wants Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson to know that they’ll always be second best.

Speaking to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto in a recent interview (h/t MMA Fighting), Nurmagomedov said he’ll always be No. 1 — even if the UFC were to strip him of his lightweight title.

“He’s just a stupid guy,” Nurmagomedov said of Ferguson “OK, strip me if this is my mistake. Last time, April 2018, it was his mistakes. Right now, this is not Khabib’s mistake. This is coronavirus. This is two different things. ... this is completely different.”

“When I’m in the UFC, Tony always is going to be the interim champion, and always, Conor [McGregor] is going to be No. 2 while I’m here,” he said. “These guys are going to be No. 2. I’m going to be No. 1.

“These guys are not on my level. This is good. Make the interim title. Tony deserves the interim title. Conor is No. 2, and everybody knows who’s the best.”

Nurmagomedov is currently stranded in Russia due to the government’s recently imposed coronavirus travel ban but the undefeated Dagestani says there’s still a chance he could fight at UFC 249.

The UFC, however, is already looking at alternatives, with top-five lightweight Justin Gaethje rumored to fill in as Khabib’s replacement and face Ferguson in the new main event.

UFC 249 is scheduled to take place on April 18 at a venue TBA.