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Morning Report: Conor McGregor not interested in waiting for Khabib Nurmagomedov: ‘The who doesn’t matter for me now’

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Conor McGregor Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Conor McGregor is back but what comes next is anybody’s guess.

Over the weekend, McGregor made his triumphant return to the UFC, knocking out Donald Cerrone in just 40 seconds in the main event of UFC 246. It was McGregor’s first win in over three years and sets him up for a number of opportunities, chief among them another shot at the UFC lightweight title. That is, if McGregor even wants it.

At the UFC 246 post-fight press conference, Dana White declared McGregor would next be rematching Khabib Nurmagomedov, the man who throttled him in 2018. There’s only one problem with that, Khabib currently is set to face Tony Ferguson in April, and McGregor says he’s not looking to wait that long to compete again.

“I don’t think the who matters,” McGregor said at the presser. “Okay, the lightweight title will be there. That will be there. You see the difference in the physique, the preparation and that. That will come back around, that shot. I’m certainly not gonna - if [Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson] does go ahead - sit out and wait and then wait through holidays and injuries and all this type of thing that goes with it. The who doesn’t matter for me now. I’m looking at dates now and I know March was there. I’m gonna have a look at the calendar and see where we’re at.”

The UFC returns to Las Vegas in seven weeks for UFC 248 on March 7, an event that will presumably be headlined by the middleweight title bout between Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero. Strawweight champion Weili Zhang will also be making her first title defense against former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk mean a McGregor addition to the card would make the event one of the biggest of the year. It would be a quick turnaround for McGregor but that might be preferable to the alternative Dana White wants: for McGregor to sit out and wait for the winner of Khabib vs. Tony, likely in the late summer or early fall. McGregor is adamant that he’d like to get back in action before then and plans on discussing business with Dana later this week.

“Lorenzo [Ferttita] gets back from Panama on Wednesday so we’ll toast some fine Irish whiskey - I always look to do that tradition and talk with Dana,” McGregor said. “So he gets back on Tuesday so I’ll stay here and I’ll go for dinner and a toast with Lorenzo and Dana and I’m sure we’ll chat about it then and see what’s what. I’ll be ready. I’ll have a celebration tonight. I’ll chill with my kids tomorrow. I’ll show Junior the fight on the telly, see how he reacts to it, see what he thinks of it, and then back to training.”

Another option for McGregor would be to just stay ready in case something happens to Khabib or Tony. Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been scheduled to face each other four times before with each man pulling out on two occasions. It’s among the most unlucky fights in MMA history and, with nearly three months to go until then, many fans remain skeptical it will actually end up happening. Should something befall one of the competitors, McGregor could step in.

“You know, it’s got very personal with that man and his team,” McGregor said of Nurmagomedov. “Look, it is what it is. I make no promises. I am who I am and it is what it is. I’ll certainly be focused on the skillsets. We have a particular skillset, myself and that man. He holds onto the legs and I come for it. I’ll be excited to get that one back. So we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens in the Tony fight. Tony’s another interesting foe for me. We’ll see what happens. If something happens, I’ll be here.”

Then of course there are numerous other options McGregor could busy himself with while waiting for Khabib. Jorge Masvidal has been campaigning hard for a fight with McGregor as has Justin Gaethje. And following his win on Saturday, Floyd Mayweather Jr. teased the possibility of rematching McGregor in boxing. “Notorious” has no shortage of choices but in the end, it sounds like what he really wants is a rematch with Khabib at the end of the year and he wants to do it in Khabib’s native land. Dana White has been strongly against doing a Russian PPV event but McGregor thinks he can sway him.

“How much money is enough money? How much money is enough money for f*cks sake? There’s a lot of money in Russia. There’s a lot of revenue in Russia,” McGregor said. “. . . What a place! It would be like something out of a Rocky movie, so I’d be very eager to do that. Dana the hometown Vegas boy, I know the Vegas people will be campaigning for it. Let’s see what happens. I would love that. I want to create spectacles for the people. That’s one hell of a spectacle.”

It certainly would be. Let’s see if it ends up happening.


MUST-READ STORIES

Results. Check out all the results from UFC 246.

BMF. Conor McGregor laughs off Jorge Masvidal’s attempt to get his attention at UFC 246.

Great. Dana White: Khabib Nurmagomedov, not Jorge Masvidal, is next for Conor McGregor.

Dazzler. Donald Cerrone dazzled by Conor McGregor’s shoulder strikes: ‘I’d never seen anything like that’.

Skeptical. Conor McGregor ‘skepticalKamaru Usman got hacked, suspects Ali Abdelaziz involved.

Plans. Dana White confirms plans to book Henry Cejudo against Jose Aldo next, explains why it makes sense.


VIDEO STEW

UFC 246 post-fight show.

Post-fight press conference.

Conor partying after the win.

Masvidal and Cerrone backstage at UFC 246.

Kang made a Conor-Masvidal promo.

Mixed Molly Whoppery dropped some more Conor content.


LISTEN UP

6th Round. Immediate post-fight reaction to UFC 246.

Severe MMA. Discussing every aspect of Conor McGregor’s triumphant return.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Floyd.

Good spirits.

You knew Nate wouldn’t be quiet.

Big mad.

Roxy is wonderful.

Grappling.

Would watch.

Fight coming soon.

Wow. The Strabanimal nailed it.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Denise Kielholtz (4-2) vs. Kristina Williams (3-2); Bellator 239, Feb. 21.

Tyrell Fortune (8-0) vs. Timothy Johnson (12-6); Bellator 239, Feb. 21.

Bruno Silva (11-4-1) vs. Su Mudaerji (12-4); UFC Brasilia, March 14.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Who will Conor fight next?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Khabib
    (123 votes)
  • 4%
    Tony
    (40 votes)
  • 51%
    Jorge
    (472 votes)
  • 4%
    Floyd
    (42 votes)
  • 26%
    Other
    (245 votes)
922 votes total Vote Now

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