Conor McGregor wants a rematch with UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, but Nurmagomedov seems increasingly uninterested in this possibility.
Contrary to Nurmagomedov’s disinterest in the rematch, it’s been widely speculated that McGregor will serve as the replacement opponent for the champ’s UFC 249 fight with Tony Ferguson, meaning he’d step in and fight if one of the two men fails to make it to the cage.
The implication is that Nurmagomedov could wind up rematching McGregor on short notice, whether he likes it or not.
While this would likely not go over well with the champ, his head coach Javier Mendez doesn’t believe they have any choice in the matter. He says The UFC calls the shots.
“Let’s not be naive and think that we’re in control,” Mendez told MMA Junkie (h/t MMA News). “We’re not in control. We can control what we do, but the organization controls who you fight and who you don’t fight.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor first fought in October of 2018, in the main event of UFC 229, which went down as the biggest pay-per-view in UFC history by a massive margin. On that night, Nurmagomedov submitted McGregor with a rear-naked choke in the fourth round.
In the moments after their fight, their teams engaged in a frenzied brawl, both inside and outside the cage. In the wake of this incident, all parties involved were fined and suspended, and unfortunately, that’s not where the bad blood ended.
Since their fight, Nurmagomedov and McGregor have repeatedly taken shots at each other in interviews and on social media. Suffice it to say that, while not all fans are on board with a potential rematch between them, a Nurmagomedov-McGregor would do big business for the UFC based on the festering bad blood alone.
Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor will fight for a second time?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/20/2020.