Earlier this week, it was revealed that UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was stranded in Russia and likely unable to compete at UFC 249, where he was expected to defend his title against No. 1 contender Tony Ferguson. That revelation kicked up a hornet’s nest of hater and contrarians, saying that Khabib was avoiding a fight with Ferguson, such that the lightweight champion felt the need to respond. But that response ended up only fueling come critics more, chief among them Nurmagomedov’s most bitter rival, former two-division champion Conor McGregor.
McGregor, who has recently been avidly using his high profile to help sway the masses into following the suggested medical protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, took some time out to weigh in on Nurmagomedov’s apparent decision to himself abstain from competing at UFC 249 as a result of the coronavirus. But in a twist that is not the least bit shocking, instead of lauding Nurmagomedov, McGregor took shots at the champion saying that he was in shape to fight right now and that Khabib “scurried out of the U.S. to home”. This of course, has prompted a response from Nurmagomedov who fired right back at McGregor for his hypocrisy.
“I no understand,” Khabib told ESPN. “This guy [Conor] talks about he’s in good shape but when I smash him last time he’s like, ‘My foot is blame’ or something like this. ‘It was not my good shape.’ How he right now is good shape? How we can talk about shape when I smash his face and he tap? He say ‘It was my bad shape, I was without shape, blah, blah, blah’ Now we talk about ‘I am good shape, I can come in.’
“Okay, a couple days ago he send message, ‘Hey people, take care of family, please, be safe, stay home, government ask us to stay home.’ Now he talks ‘I’m good shape, blah, blah, blah, someone has to fight, someone has to fly.’ This is fake. For me, it’s fake. I was always real. Maybe someone like, maybe someone don’t like, this is not my job. But I was always real, but this guy’s fake. What are you talking about, talking about his shape? He goes to some island and sits home all day, scared about this coronavirus but he don’t talk about this. He judges someone, ‘He has to fly here, he has to go there, he has to fight.’
McGregor and Nurmagomedov have a long history of firing insults at one another and despite the fact that they’ve already fought, their feud is no less potent than it was beforehand. Even last year, the UFC was forced to intervene when a social media dispute between the two turned dangerously ugly. And of course, it has to stick in the craw of McGregor that Khabib not only won their fight at UFC 229, but dominated it.
“What happened, October 6th, 2018?” Khabib asked. “When you have six month training camp before the fight, you do everything that you can and you come inside the cage, you talk a lot of bad things before the fight, six months you train very hard, and you come inside the cage and tap like chicken. What are you talking about?”
“When I’m gonna be here, Tony’s maximum is interim champ. Conor’s always gonna be number two. Always. Always gonna be number two. He never can do nothing with me. Inside the cage, he’s zero. When we fight, what did he do? He did zero. Everybody talks about his standup, I give him all round, I stay with him all round.”
Nurmagomedov has not officially ruled out competing on April 18th, but at this point it seems incredibly unlikely. And with the holy month of Ramadan beginning soon, that means the UFC will not be able to rebook this fight quickly. Nurmagomedov has suggested that he’d be ready to compete again by August, if the pandemic allows, and he hopes Tony Ferguson is still his opponent then.
“Of course, when I’m gonna come back, Tony gonna be always, always there,” Khabib said. “And I really believe we’re gonna fight. I really want this. This is my dream fight. I want to show people I am on different level. My ground game, my striking game, my timing, my wrestling, my top control, my spirit, my fighting I.Q., I am on different level.”
But that may not be the case. Reportedly, Ferguson has been offered at least one other opponent for UFC 249 and, if he takes the fight, could jeopardize his title shot against Nurmagomedov, especially since the UFC is openly lobbying to have Nurmagomedov rematch McGregor. Given all that, and the fact that he would prefer not waiting, the lightweight champion had one final offer to resolve this entire situation: name an actual location for the fight.
“My advice, send me location,” Khabib concluded. “I am on good shape. Anytime, anywhere, with anybody. I am the best lightweight in the world right now. I am undefeated and undisputed champion. I know these guys don’t like to hear this. Hey, remember, I am the undisputed and undefeated UFC lightweight champion - one of the greatest fighters of all time. I don’t want to say greatest, one of the greatest. Never lose fight. And now people want to say something to me? I know why, because they can’t become success like I am. . . When I’m gonna be here, these guys always gonna be No. 2.”
Response. Khabib Nurmagomedov fires back at criticism over not fighting Tony Ferguson at UFC 249.
Idiotic. Conor McGregor: Tony Ferguson won ‘game of chicken’ against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Pay. UFC still unaffected by Endeavor pay cuts due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Off. CSAC shuts down all combat sports events through May, including UFC San Diego.
Cancelled. RIZIN 22 canceled in Japan due to coronavirus.
What the Heck?
Inside Tiger Muay Thai.
10-8 round for Masvidal here.
10 UFC records that seem unbreakable.
Chael got jokes.
The Reem on the Rozenstruik fight.
Heavy Hands. Discussing some of the biggest turning points in MMA history.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Enemies of enemies.
Beginning was funny Jorge, but the end was shit https://t.co/FW9snnXBiN— Marty Sucks (@Benaskren) April 2, 2020
Even if it is a set up Marty still sucks https://t.co/daU3dx7Lvc— Marty Sucks (@Benaskren) April 2, 2020
Yet the UFC wants to keep putting on events. . .
My reaction when I found out that gyms are closed for at least another month.— Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) April 2, 2020
#tbt #ufcraleigh #campchiesa #coronavirus #homelockdown #quarantine #quarantinelife #COVID19iswack pic.twitter.com/jTbWaeFz80
Condolences to Bobby Knux.
Ngannou out here flexing on everybody.
This is some real Gilligan’s Island sh*t.
Kinda dig this.
Stunning that Dana’s “plan” of having a top-secret location and not telling anyone blew up in his face. The UFC should’ve abandoned this whole farce weeks ago.
Another week of quarantine down. I hope you all are staying sane and getting through these unfortunate times. Thanks for reading and see everyone on Monday.
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