Conor McGregor has not fought in the Octagon since November of 2016, when he captured the UFC lightweight title with a second round knockout of Eddie Alvarez. This period of inactivity forced the UFC to strip McGregor of his lightweight title, and crown a new champion in the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Since Nurmagomedov won the lightweight title, demand for a potential showdown between him and McGregor has reached an all-time high. In the opinion of McGregor’s striking coach Owen Roddy, it’s a fight that’s likely to happen.
“There’s been a lot of talk about this Khabib fight and it seems to be brewing towards this one,” Roddy said on the BBC MMA Show (transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting). “You earn the chance to fight Conor. You have to be worthy to fight him. Khabib is doing very well fighting-wise. I see holes in his game but he’s building a big ruckus. He’s calling [Conor out] now and people are getting behind him and it’s starting to build, and once it gets to that tipping point, I’m sure we’ll see that fight.”
Roddy then divulged that McGregor would even consider taking the fight in Nurmagomedov’s native Russia.
“Conor’s a mad thing,” Roddy said. “Conor turned around to me just after the [Floyd] Mayweather fight and said, ‘There’s talk of me fighting Khabib. I might do it in Russia.’ Then he says to me, ‘We’ll do it like Rocky. We’ll go to Siberia and we’ll train in the snow. I’ll get one of those yokes to put on my shoulders to get the lats’. I was crying with laughter. He was serious. Dead serious. Conor does mad things. That’s what we love him for. There’s not many people who would do that. It would be an exciting fight. I don’t know what’s going to happen next but I would like to see it.”
Roddy also gave his take on the matchup from a stylistic perspective.
“At the end of the day, Khabib hasn’t finished many fights lately,” he said. “Now he always says he does that on purpose, but I don’t think so. If you’re going to go in and finish somebody, you go in and finish them. He says, ‘I like punish people for five rounds.’ I always say, if you’re going to give Conor McGregor five attempts to land a shot on you, so even if he went in and didn’t land the first round, or the second, or the third, or the fourth, he has five attempts to land one shot.
“I’ve seen Conor McGregor go in and land within the first 30 seconds of the first round. You see that against every person he’s fought – MMA fighters, boxers, everybody. He’s so elusive, he’s so good at maintaining the range, he’s so good at giving people shots that they think they can land and then setting up everything off that. I just see him land and not many people can take it. I don’t know if Khabib can take it either.”
Do you think we’ll see a fight between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/30/2018.