Islam Makhachev overwhelmed Thiago Moises in the main event of UFC Vegas 31 on Saturday. After out-striking and out-wrestling Moises, the Dagestani lightweight got the finish—via rear naked choke—in the fourth round.
After the fight Makhachev called out a host of top UFC lightweights, including Michael Chandler, Tony Ferguson and Rafael dos Anjos.
One name Makhachev didn’t mention was that of the ‘Notorious’ Conor McGregor. However, it seems a contest with the Irishman is a ‘dream fight’ for his manager Ali Abdelaziz.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto spoke with Abdelaziz after Makhachev’s victory and reported that the manager says there is leftover business between his stable of fighters and McGregor. Abdelaziz also tweeted that he wants to see Makhachev break McGregor’s neck.
Team Makhachev taking post-fight victory photos in the back. Makhachev's manager tells me this fight -- Islam vs. Conor -- is now his "dream fight." Says it would finish all of the leftover business between the two teams. https://t.co/SeO7VJ6dLe— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) July 18, 2021
McGregor is currently recovering from surgery to repair the broken leg he suffered at UFC 264 two weeks ago. At that event, after being thoroughly beaten by Dustin Poirier during the first round, McGregor appeared to snap his tibia on a kick that hit Poirier’s elbow. The fight was called off after it become clear McGregor had suffered a serious leg fracture and Poirier was awarded his second TKO win over McGregor this calendar year.
It’s expected that McGregor will return to fighting shape in around 12 months.
The unfinished business Abdelaziz alluded to refers to the long standing, and bitter, rivalry between McGregor and Makhachev’s stable-mate Khabib Nurmagomedov.
McGregor and Nurmagomedov met in 2018, with ‘The Eagle’ dominating McGregor before finishing their bout with a neck crank to defend his UFC lightweight title. After the win, Nurmagomedov famously launched himself from the cage to attack McGregor’s team.
That action lead to a brawl in and around the Octagon. Makhachev, who was in Nurmagomedov’s corner, was involved in the brawl and appeared to throw punches at Team McGregor’s Dillon Danis.
Nurmagomedov and his team would argue that their actions were justified due to McGregor’s trash talk (and the infamous dolly incident) in the lead-up to that fight. During that lead-up McGregor was accused of attacking Nurmagomedov’s faith, among many other things.
Over the following years McGregor has used social media to continue his feud with the now-retired Nurmagomedov, though he’s not made many references to Makhachev.
Currently, it seems, McGregor’s mind is set on a fourth fight with Poirier. McGregor has also seemed keen on taking his rivalry with Poirier into similar territory that he did with Nurmagomedov, as evidenced by McGregor issuing death threats at Poirier and his family.