With Tony Ferguson out with a leg injury, Khabib Nurmagomedov will now fight UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway in the UFC 223 main event. While he’s happy to have received a replacement opponent at all, he said his first choice in this regard was Conor McGregor.
“I told them first, ‘hey, where is this Burger King, [bring] this Burger King here,'” Nurmagomedov told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “I need this guy, because he put a Tweet a couple weeks ago saying ‘stay ready.’ Now where is this guy? Six days to make weight? It’s a [good amount of days] to make weight. It’s not like two, three. It’s six he can weight. Bring this guy.”
Nurmagomedov then explained why he believes he didn’t get his desired fight with McGregor.
“Dana says he has to look nice, like [his] face and everything, because now he have good sponsorships deals. We cannot change his face. I said ok, I need somebody. I need to fight for the title, but I don’t care who. Bring whoever you want guys, [just at] 155, fight for the title. I need this. Please stop giving me regular [non-title] fights, because I need to fight for the title. I have best win-streak now, in UFC. Fighting regular fights? I’m tired of this. I’m 29 years old. I’m young, hungry, now my time is coming. I need to fight for the title.”
Finally, Nurmagomedov recounted the phone call in which White offered him Holloway.
“Dana told me ‘I’m working on this,’ and after about an hour he called me—and I don’t think about Max Holloway, you know. I think about maybe [Dustin] Poirier, [Eddie] Alvarez, because Poirier fights next week. I think about maybe [Michael] Chiesa, [Paul] Felder, [Al] Iaquinta, [Anthony] Pettis, because these guys fight with me same night [at UFC 223]. But they call me and say Max Holloway. I said, you know, ‘doesn’t matter.’ I say, ‘if this is for real belt, I say yes.'”
While this is an entertaining anecdote from Khabib Nurmagomedov, it’s worth noting that Dana White claims Conor McGregor was never actually offered the fight.
“I don’t think Conor McGregor could make the weight on six day’s notice,” White told ESPN. “That’s a tough weight cut for him. Conor isn’t exactly the guy that I want to throw in as a late replacement fighter. He’s the guy that I want to make a fight with, have the right amount of time to promote the fight, have the fight in the right place, so I’m not interested in asking Conor to take the fight.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/2/2018.