There is certainly no shortage of options for UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s first title defense. Of all the options available, however, none would be bigger or more lucrative than a fight between Nurmagomedov and former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor.
In the opinion of UFC President Dana White, this is absolutely the fight to make. Unfortunately, McGregor is presently neck-deep in a complicated legal situation, which stems from his infamous rampage in Brooklyn — you know, the one where he threw a dolly through the window of a shuttle bus carrying Nurmagomedov and a number of other UFC 223 fighters. So, while White hopes to book a McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov fight, he says he’ll first have to see how McGregor’s legal situation shakes out, starting with his June 15 court date in New York City.
“That’s the fight to make,” White said of a Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor bout on the latest episode of the UFC Unfiltered podcast. “But there’s no fight to make until we figure out what happens with Conor.”
If the UFC does eventually book a Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor fight, White says it won’t happen when the UFC debuts in Nurmagomedov’s native Russia on September 15. That card will air on Fight Pass.
“Khabib won’t fight [in Russia],” White said. “The fight in Moscow is going to be a Fight Night. It’s going to be on Fight Pass. We’re just testing it out out there to see how it goes. It’s a place we’ve been trying to get into for a long time, and we’re doing it.”
While White seems pretty keen on pitting Nurmagomedov against McGregor, it sounds like Nurmagomedov and his team might have moved past this potential fight.
“We believe the fight to make is the Georges St-Pierre fight at 155 pounds,” Nurmagomedov’s manager told MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani. “Khabib wants to fight for legacy and not for a soap opera drama show, and we think Conor doesn’t deserve this opportunity. The guy hasn’t fought in almost two years. Why does he deserve to fight for the title? He should get his ass back in the line and work his way up.”
Do you think we’ll ever see Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov fight?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/5/2018.