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Conor McGregor explains why he believes Khabib Nurmagomedov will beat Tony Ferguson

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There is little doubt that Conor McGregor would love to return to the UFC to rematch reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov after falling to him in Oct. 2016.

Unfortunately for McGregor, UFC president Dana White has seemingly moved past that potential rematch, instead putting focus on making the long-awaited showdown between Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.

Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been scheduled to meet on four previous occasions, but each time, injuries or weight cutting issues have led to a cancellation. Now it appears the two top-ranked lightweights are expected to clash in early 2020 with McGregor stuck on the outside looking in.

Of course, McGregor still has a vested interest in whoever wins that fight, and he was recently asked for his prediction during a public appearance in Russia.

“It would be an interesting one,” McGregor said. “I think Khabib would probably beat him. Again, we’ve got to see what the circumstances are. Anyone can win on any given day. Tony is a formidable fighter also. He’s very, very tough. He does go down, he does get dropped, his guard has been passed, (and) he’s been mounted by a lesser fighter.

“I would favor Khabib in that bout.”

While Ferguson has suffered through some defensive errors during his current 12-fight win streak, he’s also earned six submissions and three knockouts along the way as well.

Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov is a perfect 28-0 in his career, including his recent submission victory over Dustin Poirier in his second title defense as champion.

Ferguson undoubtedly is the next in line to face Nurmagomedov, assuming all sides can come to an agreement on a date, location and payout for the fight.

As for McGregor, he continues to hint at his return to action, stating he hoped to fight as early as December at UFC 245. But for whatever reason, he hasn’t been given an opponent, and he remains on the sidelines for now.