Reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is hoping to fight Georges St-Pierre after his title unification bout with Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, but ‘The Eagle’ says the ball is now in ‘Rush’s’ court.
“Regarding Georges St-Pierre, that fight really inspires me,” Khabib said at a press conference in Moscow (video and translation courtesy of RT Sport).” It was my father’s dream fight. But time passes, Georges St-Pierre will be 40 next year. I think he has to decide whether we’ll fight or not. I want that fight. If I beat Justin in October, then fight St-Pierre in April before Ramadan, that would be ideal.
“Dana told me after this fight they’ll talk to St-Pierre. If he agrees, we’ll fight. Both I and the UFC want that to happen.”
If, for whatever reason, the St-Pierre bout falls through, Nurmagomedov is willing to rematch Conor McGregor — whom he submitted at UFC 229 — if ‘The Notorious’ can get past former interim lightweight titleholder Dustin Poirier.
“If I don’t fight St-Pierre, I’d fight anyone who beats Dustin Poirier next, whether it’s Tony Ferguson or McGregor, after I fight Gaethje,” Khabib said. “That’s if I don’t fight Georges St-Pierre. If he comes back to the UFC and agrees to fight me, I’m fighting him. Why? Because the last time he lost was 2007. My career started in 2008. Together we’ve been undefeated for 25 years. I’m talking in terms of time, not fights. I don’t think the UFC will get another chance to make a fight like that, definitely not in the next 10 years.
“So Georges St-Pierre is next. If not, let Conor beat Poirier, or have Tony beat him, then I’ll fight them. Why? Because right now Poirier is the next contender. We already fought and I beat him, then he came back and beat a top-five guy. So if Conor and Tony beat Poirier, I’ll fight them if I don’t fight Georges St-Pierre.”
Before there’s any further talk of St-Pierre and McGregor, however, Nurmagomedov must first get past Gaethje at UFC 254.
“I have no ill will towards him,” Khabib said of Gaethje, who beat Tony Ferguson earlier this year to capture the interim UFC lightweight title. “He fights, wants to be the best in the world, and I respect his efforts. He achieved a lot in this sport and I think he’s a worthy opponent. You saw what he did to Tony Ferguson. I don’t underestimate him. It’s strictly professional. We’ll get in the cage, shake hands, handle our business, and leave.”
UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje will take place on October 24 at a TBD location.