Khabib Nurmagomedov is still not interested in a rematch with Conor McGregor, as ‘The Eagle’ feels fans are only interested in the inevitable drama surrounding the match-up.
Prior to their lightweight title bout at UFC 229, which saw Khabib submit McGregor in the fourth round, ‘The Notorious’ threw a dolly through the window of a fighter’s bus and, after the fight, ‘The Eagle’ leapt over the cage and attacked Dillon Danis in the stands, triggering an all-out brawl inside the Octagon.
Speaking to TMZ Sports in a recent interview, Nurmagomedov said a rematch would be good for ratings and money but said the outcome would be the same. The reigning, undefeated UFC lightweight champion insists that McGregor must beat some top contenders at 155 before the Irishman challenges for the title again.
“I think people want to see us continue what happened last time,” Nurmagomedov said, per MMA Fighting. “They just want to see drama. If you ask people, ‘Guys, what do you think, who’s gonna win?’ 99 percent going to say ‘Khabib, like he did first time.’ Just people want to see a big drama show, only for this one.
“If we talk about money, this is good. If we talk about drama, this is good. If we talk about real lightweight contender or real lightweight championship fight, this is not good. This is not real championship fight. But if we talk about drama and money, of course this is good. But I come here for show, to make my legacy. For my legacy, I have to beat tough opponents like Dustin Poirier, like Iaquinta, like other guys. Right now it’s Tony Ferguson. I have to beat all of them, like real contenders, not fake contenders.”
Nurmagomedov went on to say that Ferguson, who he faces at UFC 249, is a much tougher match-up than McGregor.
“I think, just my opinion, my last couple of years, I compete with guys like Barboza, dos Anjos, Conor, Poirier, Iaquinta, all of these guys not tough like Tony Ferguson,” Nurmagomedov said. “That’s why now I feel I have real motivation because before when I watched all these opponents I think like, ‘Okay, I can beat this guy.’ Of course, I work hard, but right now it’s a very, very tough opponent.
“That’s why we focus like always, but right now we have more focus, more hard work. Tony is not like these guys. He’s a little bit tougher than all of them.”
UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson takes place later this year, April 18 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.