MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz laid out the path for what it would take for UFC superstar Conor McGregor to get a lightweight title shot.
Abdelaziz is the manager of not only UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, but also interim champ Justin Gaethje. The plan was originally set for Nurmagomedov to fight Gaethje at UFC 243 in September, but following the passing of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, that fight is on hold right now. Instead, the UFC plans to have Israel Adesanya take on Paulo Costa in the main event of UFC 243 for the middleweight belt.
Speaking to TMZ Sports, Abdelaziz was asked about the lightweight title picture right now with Nurmagomedov unable to fight. According to the manager, he still sees Nurmagomedov fighting Gaethje before the end of 2020. But when asked about McGregor stepping in line to fight the belt, Abdelaziz laid out the terms of that happening.
“Justin said no (to McGregor). Khabib told me to go tell Justin to fight Conor. Justin said no. Listen, we dictate this. Conor right now he can be a backup fighter. He can go make weight and maybe make some money, but at the end of the day, that’s the two champions. He’s not even No. 3, he’s No. 4 or No. 5. Conor can go fight Nate (Diaz) or (Jorge) Masvidal. We’re not interested in fighting him. He needs to get some wins and he needs to fight some good opponents. I said, the only way he can fight Khabib is if he fights Islam Makhachev, then he can fight Khabib,” Abdelaziz said.
Though UFC president Dana White recently confirmed that McGregor is retired from the sport, that hasn’t stopped his name from continually coming up in the news because he’s still the biggest star in the sport. But as far as Abdelaziz goes, the next fight for the belt will be between Nurmagomedov and Gaethje.
“Khabib has some goals to accomplish. You will see him before the end of the year. Now him and Dana are talking and I’m talking to the matchmakers and we’re trying to set up a date. I’m sure Dana will let the fans know when Khabib will fight. We have a blockbuster main event between him and Justin Gaethje. Two of the best lightweights today of the recent era. We’ve seen what Khabib does to all his opponents. We’ve seen what Justin Gaethje has done to his last four opponents. He dismantled Ton Ferguson. He made him look like an absolute amateur. And that’s the best two guys in the world and they’re going to fight,” Abdelaziz said.
Do you agree with the path Ali Abdelaziz has laid out if Conor McGregor wants to get a UFC lightweight title shot?