Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is expected to fight in the spring for the first time in more than a year. He doesn’t believe it will be for a rematch against Conor McGregor.
“Honestly I don’t think he wants that fight,” Nurmagomedov said during a Q&A session with children in Moscow that was transcribed by RT Sport. “I beat him up for four rounds. I beat him and choked him and he tapped. It was a sign he didn’t want to be there, ‘let me go please’ and all that. And now he wants the rematch?”
Nurmagomedov said McGregor should earn his way back to the rematch after Nurmagomedov dominated the first meeting at T-Mobile Arena on Oct. 6, 2018.
McGregor’s last victory came in October 2016. Since then, he has lost a boxing match to Floyd Mayweather and the title bout against Nurmagomedov. Yet McGregor has remained one of the most relevant fighters in the world through his appearances and social media posts, as well as several high-profile legal issues.
Nurmagomedov has heard McGregor demand a rematch publicly, but doesn’t believe he really wants it.
“He’s an idiot,” Nurmagomedov said. “We don’t pay attention to idiots.”
Instead, he plans to defend the belt against Tony Ferguson. The bout has been booked four times in the past, but both fighters have had to pull out for various reasons.
“It will happen, there are talks currently ongoing, it will be either in March or April,” Nurmagomedov said. “The backstory of this fight is what makes it so anticipated. We’re currently putting everything in action.
“He has 12 straight wins in UFC, I have 12 straight wins, so I think it will be a very good fight. I’m preparing for it, mentally and physically.”