Makhachev ripped into McGregor during an interview with ESPN, calling out the former two-division champ for being old, drunk and unmotivated.
“Let’s go. Let’s do it. Why not? He’s just playing games. He’s never gonna take this fight. He’s playing a little bit of a game and because he knows,” Makhachev told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “It’s gonna be a long night for him. [Like] what Khabib did with him because he’s not the same now. When he fought Khabib, he was in good shape, not drunk too much, but now he has to retire. This guy has money, everything, but if he wants to come back, let’s do it. I will be happy to smash him.”
McGregor is on the mend from a broken leg is has gone just 1-3 in his last four UFC fights. Despite that, his name has been mentioned multiple times in the title shot conversation and current 155-pound champ Charles Oliveira has brought him up on multiple occasions. Makhachev isn’t buying it.
“I think this is fake,” Makhachev said, “for the fans that make some interesting, but I think this fake. It’s gonna be hard for him to make 155 because he drunk all days, and lot of people are gonna smash him in this situation. He just gonna fight vs. Nate Diaz or some old people for make some money, and that’s it. He’s never gonna be champion. He’s never gonna be compete this level.”
Dana White on McGregor’s Title Shot: ‘We’ll See’
It seems a bit absurd that McGregor would return and instantly get a shot at the lightweight strap. However, UFC president Dana White didn’t exactly shoot down the idea while talking with The Underground in a February 28 interview.
“Well, it’s going to depend on who the champion is,” White said. “The champion has some say in that, too. Who is going to be the champ when Conor McGregor comes back and what do they want to do? If you look at Oliveira, if it’s still Oliveira by the time (McGregor) comes back, maybe he wants Conor. Who knows. We’ll see what happens.”
The fact of the matter is that McGregor moves the needle when it comes to PPV buys and eyeballs. But the key will be his health after suffering a nasty broken leg in his last bout against Dustin Poirier in July of 2021. McGregor recently said he’s been back in the gym boxing without issues.
“There’s a lot of variables that have to come together for him to come back and fight. No. 1 is health and how’s his leg,” White said. “Once that’s 100 percent. Then, we’ll start to figure out where he goes. We have fights made all the way up until June 18 already. Once he’s 100 percent ready to go, we’ll get him figured out and see what’s what with the lightweight division. We’ll get him figured out.”
Makhachev Disputes That He Turned Down Fight
Makhachev has at least one more fight until he gets a shot at the lightweight strap, which White confirmed, saying he’ll fight No. 4-ranked lightweight Beneil Dariush next. If he wins that fight, he’d likely get the winner between Justin Gaethje and Oliveira.
White said that Makhachev told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto with Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 272, which the fighter disputed on Tuesday.
“I was in California on vacation, and I called my manager and said, ‘Please call the UFC, I am ready to take this fight,'” Makhachev told ESPN. “I asked about some conditions, very small conditions, nothing big or not possible to do. It was not the UFC calling me. I wanted this fight, but the UFC did not do it. That’s it.”
Oliveira and Gaethje are set to clash at UFC 274 on May 7.