Nurmagomedov routed Iaquinta to win a lopsided decision and, most importantly, capture the undisputed UFC lightweight title on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Nurmagomedov’s victory meant that Conor McGregor was finally stripped of the 155-pound title that went undefended since the Irishman seized it in November 2016. And while Nurmagomedov took advantage of his moment at UFC 223 to try to set up a fight against Georges St-Pierre, the notion of a blockbuster meeting with McGregor continues to loom over the division, especially after the antics that led “The Notorious” to be arrested midway through fight week for his attack on the UFC fighter bus that carried Nurmagomedov.
“We have to finish this beef,” Nurmagomedov said regarding McGregor at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “Beef, chicken, or something like this. He have to stop eat Burger Kings and — you want to fight? Come. I told you guys, we’re gonna make him humble. I told you guys, I’m gonna change this game. Now, only one champion. No more fake champions. No more champion who never defend his title, or something like this. Now, UFC have champion, and this champion want to defend his title. You want to fight? Come here.
“Inside the cage, come. Outside the cage, let me know without camera, without all this media. Like men. He come when a lot of security here, outside the bus, inside the bus, security here, don’t let me go out. Like, he try to, ‘Hey, come out,’ like this. Why you need this show up? Let me know and that’s it, any time.”
McGregor’s antics on Thursday ultimately overshadowed much of a UFC 223 fight week that already carried no shortage of drama after Tony Ferguson’s withdrawal from the main event.
It’s no secret that McGregor’s attempt at retaliation against Nurmagomedov backfired majorly — aside from being arrested, the former two-division champion also directly caused the cancellation of three different fights because of injuries suffered from his dolly throw. That being said, the entire incident could realistically end up being the linchpin of a Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor promotional push that has the potential to result in the highest-selling UFC pay-per-view of all-time.
The UFC has already showed a willingness to use the footage as a promotional tool on the final episode of UFC 223 Embedded — and that fact wasn’t lost on Nurmagomedov.
“They already promote this fight, right?” Nurmagomedov said, smiling.
“I hope he’s gonna fight. We have to fight. Make world tour everywhere, Tokyo, Moscow, Dublin, Los Angeles, Rio. Big world tour, promote this fight, and fight end of the year, biggest arena in the world, Madison Square Garden. Why not? Or maybe in Zaire or Philippines. Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter, I’m here. He want to become lightweight champion? He have to fight with me. Now, no more this all fake champions. You guys remember when he put tweet, ‘Beg me.’ Please, beg me.
“We have to finish this. It’s going to be very big fight. It’s going to be very big fight, I think. Let’s go. I am ready for this. November, September in Moscow, November in New York. Any time. Let’s go. Let’s fight in Africa or somewhere. I am here.”
If Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor was announced tomorrow, who would be your pick?
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