UFC president Dana White revealed Conor McGregor’s next opponent might be announced sooner than most pundits expect.
White told TMZ Sports in an interview released Saturday he definitely wants to book a rematch between McGregor and UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov but isn’t sure the Irish superstar will want to wait and see whether Nurmagomedov wins his next fight against Tony Furguson at UFC 249 on April 18.
“Yeah. Khabib, if he wins, but I don’t know if Conor wants to wait for him,” White said. “We’ll see what happens. Conor might not wait.”
McGregor stopped Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 in January and some assumed he’d land the rematch against Nurmagomedov next. But White’s comments indicate McGregor might choose to go ahead and book another fight before UFC 249 is settled.
If that happens, the announcement about McGregor’s next fight could come in a matter of days or weeks.
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Will McGregor Wait for Nurmagomedov?
While a rematch for the UFC lightweight championship would be a huge hit at the box office, McGregor might not want to wait until after April to see where he stands in terms of landing the fight.
Beyond the Nurmagomedov rematch, McGregor has been linked to several other high profile names. Earlier this week, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani suggested lightweight contender Justin Gaethje was the early frontrunner.
But when several other to ESPN MMA journalists chimed in with their picks for McGregor’s next fight, specifically which fighter McGregor would face next (rather than who McGregor should face), Gaethje was absent from their responses. Instead, that group of stalwart insiders tabbed Nate Diaz, Jorge Masvidal and Nurmagomedov as the three most likely options.
White Addresses Nurmagomedov’s Recent McGregor Critiques
Nurmagomedov blasted McGregor earlier this week about handpicking opponents. Additionally, the undefeated champ said there was no reason for him to fight McGregor again since he submitted McGregor in the fourth round at UFC 229 in October 2018.
White addressed those remarks.
“First of all, Conor does not handpick his opponents,” White said. “Conor McGregor has fought anybody that we ask him to fight and who’s been available, guys have pulled out (of scheduled fights) with Conor two or three times, Conor literally went to the gym and said ‘tell me who I’m fighting (next).”
Moreover, White told TMZ Sports that anytime someone interviews Nurmagomedov and McGregor about each other, the fighters would always slam the other based on their heated rivalry and a serious dislike of each other.
“They hate each other,” While said. “If you think you’re going to do an interview with Khabib and he’s going to say great things about Conor McGregor, it’s never gonna happen. And if you interview Conor McGregor, he’s never gonna say great things about Khabib. They hate each other.”