Is Khabib Nurmagomedov really waiting in the wings to see what happens in the main & co-main events of this Saturday’s UFC PPV in Abu Dhabi? That’s the yarn Dana White is looking to spin, but it doesn’t seem many people are buying it.
In a recent interview with Russian media site Sport24, the ‘Eagle’ even seemingly reiterated his intentions not to make a comeback, telling the outlet “I don’t even have plans for UFC in the near future.”
But, if that’s the case, then it doesn’t seem to bother Conor McGregor at all. Even if he still feels strongly that a rematch with the AKA talent needs to happen.
“I don’t really care,” McGregor told fans and media during fight week when asked about Khabib’s supposed message to Dana White (transcript via MMA Fighting). “He did not say that, Dana said that. Let’s just get through the fight. All these men are up here, there’s plenty of challenges. It’s a tough business. Things have gone on in his personal life, I don’t wish him any harm. Like I said, it was in 2018, a lot of time has passed.
“The world knows this fight is not over. The war is not over. The sport needs it to happen. The people need it to happen. I’m not going to chase it if he doesn’t want it. That’s it. I’ll keep my calm and move on. That’s what I’m doing. I’m back here at the 155-pound division. I’ll show the world what’s what over time and that’s it. It begins on Saturday night against Dustin Poirier.”
As long as Khabib isn’t interested in fighting, however, McGregor did seem to have one recommendation at the ready. It’s time to strip the champ of his title belt, and get the division moving. A slightly surprising stance coming from the man who went more than a year without defending his lightweight title before the UFC stripped him of the belt.
“I would make the case if that man is continuing to dodge this and dodge the commitment of competing again, the title should be stripped and we should be engaging in a title fight,” McGregor said. “But I’m sure it will happen after this bout.”
UFC 257 goes down this Saturday, January 23rd, live on PPV. Conor McGregor’s rematch of Dustin Poirier is expected to headline the event. With a lightweight bout between Dan Hooker and promotional newcomer Michael Chandler set for the co-main. Khabib is not expected to be in attendance.