On Saturday night, just after McGregor suffered a second-round knockout loss to Dustin Poirier in the UFC 257 main event, Nurmagomedov took to social media to offer his take on the fight. While he never mentioned McGregor by name, it was rather clear who the undefeated Russian was addressing with his comment.
“This is what happened, when you change your team, leave the sparring partners who made you a champion and sparring with little kids, far away from reality,” Nurmagomedov wrote.
This is what happened, when you change your team, leave the sparring partners who made you a champion and sparring with little kids, far away from reality.— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) January 24, 2021
While he was mostly reflective on a bad night at the office after falling by knockout for the first time in his MMA career, McGregor definitely livened up when he heard what Nurmagomedov had to say about him.
The former two-division champion was quick to condemn Nurmagomedov for his opinion, especially when it came to the dig about his training camp and the team who got him ready for UFC 257.
“My team has been with me since day one,” McGregor said at the post-fight press conference. “I have not changed anything. It is what it is. Respect the athletes and that’s the character of the man for sure, behind the mask. Whatever. What’s he want to do? Does he want to come back or not? Cause he’s not throwing no leg kicks. I got up off the ground against Dustin and I turned Dustin. Looks at little pockets of that sequence. Like I said, styles make fights. Every fight is a different fight.
“That’s why all this prestige and all that people try to hold onto. I don’t hold onto that. Whether someone has multiple wins or multiple losses. Every fight between every man is different and that’s it. Dustin’s style just played into it today and he has the durability, he has the experience and he has leg kick now in his arsenal. I’ll adjust and keep going.”
Part of the buildup leading to Saturday night’s pay-per-view was UFC President Dana White teasing a potential return to action by Nurmagomedov, who actually retired just after defending his title against Justin Gaethje this past October.
Despite Nurmagomedov’s intentions to call it a career, White has insisted on trying to lure him back for one more fight with hopes that he could book the rematch with McGregor. It would appear that McGregor’s loss to Poirier all but nixes that possibility now. But the Irish superstar is certainly still interested if Nurmagomedov wants to keep talking.
“If he wants to have his disrespectful comments, come back and let’s go again, my man,” McGregor said. “I’m here for it. That’s fighting talk. If you’re coming back, come back. You try and do it. That’s that.”