UFC superstar Conor McGregor is ducking his toughest challenges according to one of the most decorated UFC champions in the sport and arguably the Irishman’s fiercest rival. Undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov told TMZ Sports that he believes McGregor, 31, is only interested in taking fights he knows he can win.
“I think he’s just ducking tough matchups, not only Justin Gaethje,” Nurmagomedov said per TMZ Sports. “He just chooses, ‘OK, who’s going to be my next fight? I need easy fights.’
The 31-year-old champion believes McGregor’s tremendous star power gives him preference within the UFC in terms of what fights he accepts. According to Nurmagomedov, McGregor isn’t interested in facing top-level opposition. Instead, McGregor is ducking people.
“Of course, he can because he’s a big star,” Nurmagomedov said per TMZ Sports.
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Nurmagomedov Doesn’t Want McGregor Rematch
The most noteworthy comments made about McGregor were probably about lightweight contender Gaethje. Nurmagomedov seemed to imply McGregor isn’t interested in facing Gaethje next despite various reports over the past few weeks indicating that the American is the early front-runner to land the gig.
McGregor returned to the UFC after a 15-month layoff at UFC 246 in January to stop longtime fan-favorite Donald Cerrone in just one round. While both UFC president Dana White and McGregor seem to be on the same page in terms of landing McGregor the megafight rematch against Nurmagomedov, the UFC lightweight champ has repeatedly dismissed that idea.
Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor via fourth-round submission at UFC 229 in October 2018 in the best-selling UFC pay-per-view event ever. Still, Nurmagomedv isn’t interested in the rematch just yet.
“If you ask people, OK, guys, what do you think, guys, who is gonna win, 99% is gonna say, Khabib, like he did the first time,” Nurmagomedov said per TMZ Sports. “People just wanna see big drama show, only for this one.”
For the champ, the rematch doesn’t appeal because Nurmagomedov doesn’t believe McGregor has done anything inside the Octagon since UFC 229 to deserve it.
“If we’re talking about money, this is good,” Nurmagomedov said per TMZ Sport. “If we’re talking about drama, this is good. If we’re talking about real lightweight contender or real lightweight championship fight, this is not good.”
Nurmagomedov Believes Justin Gaethje Deserves McGregor
Nurmagomedov seems to believe McGregor’s next fight should come against Gaethje. The 31-year-old American is ranked No. 4 in the division and has been rumored to be in the running. Still, some insiders don’t expect him to ultimately get the nod.
In fact, Gaethje’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, posted Tuesday on social media that any reports on potential negotiations going on between the McGregor and Gaethje camps right now were completely false. But Nurmagomedov, who is also managed by Abdelaziz, seemed to lay out some terms McGregor needed to satisfy to get the rematch, and those terms include defeating Gaethje.
“Conor picked a very good opponent,” Nurmagomedov said per TMZ Sports. “Now, he came back and beat Cowboy … and they talk about…this guy (is) back. No, he has to fight with really tough opponents like Justin Gaethje or something like this.”