It usually takes three to tango when it comes to booking a big UFC matchup, and while Conor McGregor and UFC President Dana White appear to be on the same page regarding a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov, the reigning lightweight champion has his own take on the situation.
At a press conference following his appearance at a charity event in Kaspiysk, Russia, Nurmagomedov addressed White’s comments regarding the likelihood that he and McGregor will face off again should Nurmagomedov successfully defend his title against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 in April. Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor by fourth-round submission in a championship bout at UFC 229, a blockbuster event with a chaotic aftermath that left lasting repercussions on both men’s careers.
With that drama behind him for now, Nurmagomedov insisted that he’s focused on his highly-anticipated fight with Ferguson and that his own desires should take precedent over the whims of White or Mcgregor.
“I have a fight on April 18,” Nurmagomedov said (translation via RT Sport). “I have a very serious fight. For the past month and a half I’ve been consistently training day and night. I’ve gotten myself in good shape, to where I’m supposed to be 70 days before a fight, I feel great. What’ll happen after a fight - no one knows. I don’t worry about it, that’s what they want.
“I’m surprised that people even question me about a rematch. It seems that people want to continue the festivities after that fight. Everyone saw what happened in the Octagon. I controlled the fight every step of the way. I did everything I wanted to him, he even gave up. How can we even discuss a rematch? We can only talk about continuing the festivities and making money. The question is: do I want that? I am focused on Tony Ferguson.”
Pushed on if a rematch at least has him interested, Nurmagomedov answered flatly, “Not at all.” When a theoretical figure of $100M was proposed, “The Eagle” did not change his tune and answered with a question of his own.
“Why do I need that kind of money, there are so many organizations for example (gestures to the room)... There’s not only football for the blind, there’s Sambo and other sports,” Nurmagomedov said. “Let [the UFC] give it to them, if they don’t know what to do with the money. But giving me $100M to beat up that idiot again? I don’t think that’s rational.”