Khabib Nurmagomedov rejected a question about Conor McGregor from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith ahead of UFC 254.
Nurmagomedov is gearing up for one of the biggest fights of his career so far on Saturday night as he prepares to defend the UFC Lightweight Championship against Justin Gaethje. However, many fans and pundits can’t seem to stop talking about the Russian’s UFC 229 opponent Conor McGregor.
After Smith initially brought up McGregor during his interview with the champion, the follow-up question wasn’t particularly well received.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 20, 2020
The question from Smith was as follows.
“A lot of times, particularly in the fight game, you talk about giving the people what they want to see,” Smith said (via MMA Junkie). “One of the things I said last week talking about you, sir, was that you really, really don’t want to fight somebody like Conor McGregor again – primarily because you don’t like him and you think fighting him again gives him attention that you don’t believe he deserves. How accurate is that?”
The response from Nurmagomedov was, as you may expect, short and sweet.
“Right now, even I don’t want to talk about this (expletive).”
Javier Mendez, the head coach behind Nurmagomedov, on the other hand, is happy to answer questions about whether or not he feels Gaethje will be the champion’s toughest test yet.
“It is possible. It is 100 percent possible. We won’t know until we get in there. Just based on my thinking I am thinking Conor is,” Mendez said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “I could definitely be wrong. We need to be ready for the toughest fight. I like to view this as the toughest fight because Justin is a gamer and has got great wrestling. I still think it is Conor. But, it could very well be Justin.”
It does seem as if the lightweight division is in the midst of an unofficial tournament with the other “semi-final” being the heavily rumored rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier in January 2021. Either way, though, Khabib Nurmagomedov has a big target on his back.