Khabib Nurmagomedov doesn’t want to be associated with the dancing monkeys of the UFC as he brands the Conor McGregor vs Donald Cerrone matchmaking, a “well-organized circus.”
The undefeated lightweight champion is well known for his embittered rivalry with Conor McGregor that culminated in their 2018 fight. “The Eagle” got his revenge on the Irishman in the UFC 229 main event as he submitted his opponent in the fourth round. However, his victory did little to dampen the ongoing feud. Both fighters have continued to fire shots, Nurmagomedov has specifically called our ‘The Notorious’ for his unruly behaviour and conduct.
The 155-pound champion’s win resulted in a hiatus and retirement announcement from McGregor. The Irishman eventually made his much-anticipated return to the sport at the start of 2020 to face Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. The welterweight fight was over almost as quick as it started, with McGregor finishing the Cowboy in 40 seconds of the first round.
Even though Cerrone has the most fight wins in UFC history, he is also coming off back-to-back losses against Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. Considering the 170-weight class is arguably the most stacked division in the UFC, some fans questioned if Cerrone was an easy matchup.
Khabib Nurmagomedov seems to think so, as he called Cowboy “mentally weak,” and referred to the matchup as “minor leagues”:
“I was basing it on how well they picked an opponent for his return so as to ‘wow’ people,” he said (translation via RT news.).
“Why? Because 90% of people who watch MMA have no clue about the sport. They just watch it and don’t even know the names. And the other 10%…
“Millions of people watch, but there aren’t a million fighters. There are 300, 400, 500 that fight in the UFC. They have trainers, so let’s say 10,000 people that know MMA. They see who loses and under what circumstances, what moves, when he fought, where he fought, what organization. Few people know those details, others just don’t care who’s fighting and how, who he fought in the past, who the opponent is, they don’t know anything. They just watch the fight. And UFC works very well with that.
“So they picked him [Cerrone] and their plan worked and people started to talk about it again, about a rematch and other stuff. Cerrone lost seven out of his last 10 fights. A man comes out 10 times and loses seven, and he gets called a legend. Well, let him be a legend, but his time is up.”
Nurmagomedov believes Cerrone was an easy choice, and that there are more worthy contenders that would have provided a fair challenge:
“We’re talking about a contender fight, about a contender, a person who’s supposed to come out and fight for a world title,” he added.
“There are other fighters who’ve proven themselves with their status, their convincing victories. There are other contenders, but [the UFC] went another route, one that’s more suitable for the media, the people, but one that makes no sense to experts.
“That was before the fight. After the fight many people agreed with me, but what you’re asking, that (my comment) was stupid, I agree. I just wanted to reach people, for them to understand what kind of an opponent they put in front of him.”
Despite his scathing review of the UFC 246 showdown, Nurmagomedov does not think the fight was fixed and was merely a reflection of bad matchmaking:
“A big organization with a lot of history won’t take such risks,” he explained.
“If someone finds out that the fight was fixed, it would be a huge blow to the UFC’s reputation. They picked a good opponent though – an opponent that never won anything serious. He could have kept winning and winning and when it came time for a big fight, and just gave up because he’s mentally weak. It’s just a well-organized circus.”
Watch Khabib Nurmagomedov’s full interview below:
Do you think “The Eagle” is right, and that the UFC is a “well-organized circus”? Sound off in the comments below.