Khabib Nurmagomedov being used to keep Conor McGregor relevant, says manager

Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor
Image: Irish Times

MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz, whose star client is UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, claims the UFC uses the champ’s name to keep Conor McGregor relevant.

UFC president Dana White recently confirmed that McGregor is on standby to fight either Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson in case either of them gets injured before UFC 249 in April. This week McGregor himself confirmed he is hoping to get a quick win over Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 then jump into the lightweight title bout at UFC 249.

Abdelaziz heard White and McGregor’s comments this week and they didn’t sit well with him. In a new interview with TMZ Sports, Abdelaziz said the UFC is using the Nurmagomedov’s name to keep McGregor relevant. Here’s what Abdelaziz said.

“Listen, Dana’s the greatest promoter in history. I respect the man very much. He has to make people care about Conor. And by mentioning Khabib’s name, he is making Conor more relevant. It’s OK. He promotes, can do whatever. Khabib has a plan, Dana has a plan, sometimes we’ll get upset, sometimes we’ll agree. But business moves on,” Abdelaziz said (via SportsBible.com).

McGregor hasn’t competed in the Octagon since a submission loss to Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 229 in October 2018. His last win in MMA came all the way back in November 2016, when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez to win the UFC lightweight title and become a double champion.

Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, has become one of the biggest stars in the sport during McGregor’s absence and in some ways has taken the torch from him in regards to becoming a pay-per-view seller for the UFC. But with McGregor now back to active competition, expect the war of words with Nurmagomedov and his team to ramp up, especially if they are booked to fight in a rematch.

Do you agree with Ali Abdelaziz that the UFC uses Khabib Nurmagomedov’s name to keep Conor McGregor relevant?