UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov criticized the UFC for handpicking Donald Cerrone as Conor McGregor’s opponent at UFC 246.
McGregor needed just 40 seconds to knock Cerrone out and re-emerge as the sport’s biggest star. Since the fight happened last month, there have been plenty of critics for Cerrone’s performance including ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith. You can also count Nurmagomedov as one of Cerrone’s critics.
Speaking at a press conference in Russia this week, Nurmagomedov criticized the UFC for its decision to match McGregor up against Cerrone. The champ did not hold back in his criticisms, and you can check out what Nurmagomedov said below courtesy of MMARusContext.
“Maybe it was harsh, but it was accurate. I’ve just foreseen it, how properly (the UFC) played it. How properly they chose the opponent,” Nurmagomedov said.
“People gasped, why? Because 90 percent of the people who watch MMA don’t understand the sport, they just watch it. They know their names and that’s it.”
Nurmagomedov also criticized the UFC’s decision to give McGregor a title shot against the winner of himself and Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 in April. According to the champ, there are more deserving contenders at 155lbs despite UFC president Dana White being adamant McGregor deserves to fight for the belt.
“People started talking about the rematch etc. Even though Cerrone lost seven of his last 10 fights. A guy fights 10 times and loses seven of them, and they call him a world-class fighter, a legend, etc. Okay, let him be a legend. But he was done a long time ago,” Nurmagomedov said.
“We’re talking about the title contenders. A guy who will fight for the title. There are other fighters proving themselves again and again with their performances, with their wins. They are the contenders. But (the UFC and Conor) took the other road. They took the way, that is understandable for the people, but not understandable for the experts.”
Do you agree with Khabib Nurmagomedov and his criticism towards the UFC for handpicking Donald Cerrone as Conor McGregor’s opponent at UFC 246?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/4/2020.