Ilia Topuria Calls Out Conor McGregor After Wild UFC 298 Knockout

Ilia Topuria finished Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298.

Getty Ilia Topuria finished Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298.

Ilia Topuria didn’t waste a moment on the microphone after his incredible UFC 298 knockout win over Alexander Volkanovski on Saturday, February 17, at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

The featherweight fighter wrested the UFC championship belt from long-reigning Alexander Volkanovski’s waist in style with a second-round knockout in front of a sell-out crowd.

When speaking to the UFC commentator Joe Rogan live on ESPN pay-per-view, he then issued a challenge to the former two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor.

“Conor McGregor, if you still have some balls, I will be waiting for you,” Topuria said.

Topuria, like McGregor, won a major UFC title in his seventh fight with the market-leading organization.

The Spanish fighter’s rapid rise is comparable to that of the Irishman’s almost a decade ago.

And now he wants to cross paths with the veteran.

UFC Boss Dana White Casts Doubts It Ever Happens

Speaking to reporters at the post-UFC 298 press conference, UFC boss Dana White seemed to cast doubts that it’s a fight that can ever happens because, he said, McGregor may not fight for a while.

“First problem was that he broke that shin bone [in his third fight with Dustin Poirier in 2021] and he’s recovering from that, another problem is that he’s [expletive] rich,” said White. “Conor McGregor doesn’t need money.

“If you had [expletive] loads of money, would you be sitting here right now asking me this question? No you would not. That just answered your question.”

When a reporter asked White if there’s a chance McGregor never fights for the UFC again, he said: “I don’t know.”

White added: “Conor McGregor’s got a lot of money. Any time we get Conor, we’re thrilled when he comes to fight. But money complicates a lot of things.”

McGregor Has Dropped Hints He Wants to Return Quickly

The fighter himself, though, has suggested numerous times on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, that he’d be keen to return to the Octagon to compete in the UFC’s biggest shows of Q2.

He said on February 11 that his ideal comeback would land at the end of UFC’s International Fight Week in Las Vegas this summer.

Such an event in 2024 would take place on June 29; titled 302.

Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest sporting days for my friends in the States, second only to the Mac’s return to the Octagon this summer,” he said.

It’s not the first time this year that he’s used X to generate interest and hype surrounding his anticipated return to the cage.

“McGregor on 300 seals the deal,” he posted on January 26 on X.

UFC 300 is a tentpole event that is filled with competitive bouts and big names but, until Saturday, lacked a main event.

The UFC announced after UFC 298 that a fight between the UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira and the former title holder Jamahal Hill will headline the April 13 show.

On face value, at least, McGregor, per his own words, wants to fight.

But this is at odds with the message White has regarding McGregor and a willingness to fight.

Speaking Saturday at the UFC press conference, White finished: “He does want to fight this year — we’ll see what happens.”