Khabib Nurmagomedov has shut down the prospect of a rematch with Conor McGregor ahead of his lightweight title unification bout with Justin Gaethje. Nurmagomedov will return from a 13-month hiatus later this month to defend his lightweight title against his interim counterpart in the main event of UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi.
Victory over the in-form Gaethje would extend the Russian’s perfect record to a staggering 29-0.
With a perfect 30-0 record within touching distance for Nurmagomedov, as well as the distinct possibility of retirement, many have been left wondering if we’ll see the Russian share the cage with McGregor again.
The prospect of a rematch with his bitter rival was put to Nurmagomedov earlier this month during the UFC 254 media day. And the pride of Dagestan was quick to shut down talk of him dancing with ‘The Notorious’ again.
“Right now, I’m focused on Justin Gaethje, Oct. 24,” Nurmagomedov responded when asked about McGregor. “I am focused on him. I don’t want to underestimate this guy.
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Everything is done. Oct. 6 I finished him and I finished everything about him.
Khabib Nurmagomedov on a rematch with Conor McGregor
“Justin is a very tough opponent, very tough guy. He follow his dream. He’s very hungry. He just beat a very tough opponent. I don’t want to underestimate him. I am focused on Oct. 24.”
Nurmagomedov, of course, successfully defended his lightweight title against his predecessor at the summit of the division two years ago in the main event of UFC 229 – submitting the Irishman with a fourth-round neck crank.
The UFC brass recently made overtures to re-book the most-watched fight in the promotion’s history, offering the pair coaching spots on a revamped version of The Ultimate Fighter.
Nurmagomedov was open to the idea of throwing down with the former two-division champion after a stint coaching UFC hopefuls.
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McGregor’s recent actions on social media, however, scuppered those plans. In a recent interview with Barstool Sports, UFC president Dana White said: “[Khabib] was gonna do it until Conor did all this s**t.
“That’s what I was saying. I felt like I was in a good place and we were going to get that done.
“We were going to do The Ultimate Fighter on ESPN and f**king do the rematch but Conor blew that.”
He added: “Yeah, Khabib said f**k him. “That was it.”
Nurmagomedov’s stance on a potential TUF spot with McGregor hasn’t changed, with the Dagestani telling ESPN earlier week: “This Ultimate Fighter with him, it’s good attention for him.
“I don’t want to give him this. I would never do this for him.
“Even if they give me $5 billion. Even if they gave me UFC, I would never do this.
“This is good attention for him. It’s done. Everything is done. Oct. 6 I finished him and I finished everything about him.”
Nurmagomedov, 32, hasn’t fought since his third-round submission victory over Dustin Poirier last September in the main event of UFC 242.
McGregor, meanwhile, hasn’t competed since decimating Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds at UFC 246 in January.
The Irishman was hoping to fight a further two times this year but had those hopes dashed by the coronavirus pandemic and less than productive talks with the UFC.
A fight against fellow fan favourite Poirier, however, is currently in the works for ‘Mystic Mac’.
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