After Conor McGregor‘s UFC 264 loss to Dustin Poirier via doctor’s stoppage TKO, a rival of the Irishman was not shy with his words. Khabib Nurmagomedov, former undefeated lightweight champion, recently said that McGregor will not return to the championship scene.
Khabib Nurmagomedov with Poirier and McGregor
The Dagestani Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov retired undefeated at 29-0 in October of 2020. Previous to that, Nurmagomedov had defeated both men competing in the UFC 264 main event. Both in championship fights, Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor via neck crank and Poirier via rear-naked choke.
Poirier and Khabib Nurmagomedov showed each other much mutual respect ahead of their match held in Abu Dhabi. The two even exchanged shirts at the end of their fight. Ahead of the Nurmagomedov vs McGregor bout, there was much vitriol and trash talk between the two. Brett Okamoto of ESPN said, “McGregor… insulted Nurmagomedov’s religion, wife and father.” The trash talk continued into their fight and after their fight. Nurmagomedov jumped over the cage to attack one of McGregor’s cornermen Dillon Danis, and the rivalry continued.
McGregor lost on Saturday night to Poirier via TKO from a broken leg. McGregor was beaten and out-struck for most of round 1. All three judges scored round 1 for Poirier, while two of those gave Poirier a 10-8 score. McGregor was unable to continue but still, trash-talked Poirier’s wife and family, and added, “This is not over! … F*ck Him.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov on Conor McGregor
The former undefeated champion, and retired, Khabib Nurmagomedov recently spoke with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and discussed his former rival. “Money and fame show who you are. All the time we hear that money and fame change people. No. When money and fame come, these two things show who you are. And what has [McGregor] done? He punched an old guy [in a bar in 2019]. You guys can watch everything he did and understand, it’s just like Dustin said, ‘This guy is a bag of s—.’
“I saw a lot of tweets try to support him,” Nurmagomedov continued, “How are you gonna support this guy? When kids, young generation watch him, watch this sport? If you want to promote your fight, promote. If the MMA community is going to support this bad people, this sport is going to go in a bad way.”
“Without broken legs, yes, [he could be the same],” Nurmagomedov said regarding if McGregor could continue competing in the title picture, “But with broken legs, he’s never going to kick the same. With him, no, I don’t believe [he’ll return to the top]. Conor have good age , but what happened with his mind, legs — this guy is finished, but he’s good for promotion.”
Nurmagomedov added that the UFC will likely pair McGregor up against Poirier or Nate Diaz when he returns. The former Russian champion said that McGregor would likely lose both of those matches.
What’s Next for the Lightweight Division?
“Conor is in recovery after 3 hours of surgery. The surgery was successful repairing fractures of his tibia and fibula,” Audie Attar, McGregor’s manager, said, “Both doctors are confident that with time he will make a full recovery. We anticipate his return to the octagon.”
After his loss to Poirier, McGregor recently said he is looking to make a comeback and fight Poirier again. Poirier has now defeated McGregor twice in 2020. UFC President Dana White said in the post-fight press conference, “When Conor is healed and ready to go, we’ll do the rematch, I guess.”
Poirier holds his spot as the number one contender. He will now fight for the UFC championship against Brazil-born Charles Oliveira. Oliveira earned the lightweight championship earlier this year defeating Michael Chandler via TKO. The lightweight championship was left vacant after Khabib Nurmagomedov retired undefeated at 29-0.
The UFC, Dana White, and Conor McGregor would all love to have Khabib Nurmagomedov back in the Octagon. McGregor has called out his former opponent multiple times and has been seeking a rematch. The UFC, with Dana White, had Nurmagomedov hold the title for several months even after his retirement to try to have him stay with the UFC. For now, Khabib Nurmagomedov has put the rivalry with McGregor in the past, and has stayed retired.