The UFC is currently working on a massive lightweight title fight between reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and former champion Conor McGregor.
If this fight is going to happen, however, they’re going to have to make it worth Conor McGregor’s while, who recently deposited north of $100 million in his bank account for fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. In the boxing ring.
As it turns out, the UFC will also have to significantly sweeten the pot for Nurmagomedov. According the champ’s manager Ali Abdelaziz, there’s no way Nurmagomedov is fighting for less money than Nate Diaz got paid for his second battle with McGregor.
“We will get a deal done,” Abdelaziz said at a media luncheon promoting his client Cody Garbrandt’s upcoming title fight with TJ Dillashaw (transcribed by Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting). “Trust me. My relationship with Dana [White], Hunter[ Campbell], Sean [Shelby], Mick [Maynard]. I have a different relationship. I’m not gonna overplay my hand and they need to be fair. There’s no way in hell Nate Diaz can make more money than Khabib. There’s no way in hell. [Nurmagomedov is the] undefeated, undisputed lightweight champion of he world. That’s it.”
“If you want to make this fight happen, it’s about money,” Abdelaziz added. “It’s not about who’s the champion, the rankings — none of this stuff. It’s about money. Khabib wants to kick his ass, I want to see it, but at the end of the day, if Conor fights it’s business.”
So what kind of price tag is Ali Abdelaziz imagining for Khabib Nurmagomedov? At least $10 million.
“I’m not a greedy guy. [Conor can] go ahead and make $100 million. If Khabib can make $10 million, I’m happy. At the end of the day, it’s not just somebody I manage. It’s my little brother, too. It’s not, ‘I’m gonna fight for him, I’m gonna get you this deal.’ It’s what he deserves. I don’t want anything extra than what he deserves. That’s it. I believe he’s one of the biggest stars in the UFC today.”
“If Conor starts playing games, we’re fighting Poirier,” Abdelaziz said. “Poirier will get the shot. I think he deserves it before Conor. But Conor wants to come, you’ve gotta bring your check book with you. Because he doesn’t deserve it. Poirier deserves it. “
Do you think we’ll see Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov fight soon?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/31/2018.