UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win over Conor McGregor in October might be his final fight in Las Vegas.
The undefeated star, who recently signed a new contract with the organization, doubled down on his vow to avoid the city after he was suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission for his role in a postfight brawl involving McGregor’s camp.
Nurmagomedov was unhappy with what he perceived as disproportionate treatment compared to McGregor after he was cited for sparking the melee by leaping over the cage to attack one of McGregor’s teammates. Nurmagomedov also expressed anger at how his teammates were disciplined for their roles.
“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” Nurmagomedov said during an interview with BT Sport. “Everybody saw what happened in Vegas. Victory in my sight, we smashed him, smashed all his team. About city, I don’t know. I don’t want to fight in Vegas anymore. They take his money, and they take my money 10 more times. It is not about money. It is about how the whole process is going.”
Nurmagomedov doesn’t seem interested in a rematch with McGregor anywhere. He will defend his belt against Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 242 on Sept. 7 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
“Last three years, he (McGregor) has only one victory,” Nurmagomedov said Wednesday at a news conference in London to promote UFC 242. “How does he deserve a rematch?
“He tapped. He begged me: ‘Please don’t kill me.’ Now he’s talking about a rematch? Tony Ferguson (is in) line. People who have win streaks (are in) line. Not a guy who (hasn’t won anything) the last three years. I have a lot in the works without him. Right now I’m focused on Sept. 7.”
Nurmagomedov laid out a path for his next three fights that he believes will make him the sport’s unquestioned pound-for-pound best — perhaps of all time.
“I have to beat Dustin, I have to beat Tony Ferguson and I have to beat (Georges St. Pierre) … then I can become pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter,” Nurmagomedov said.
St. Pierre is retired, and UFC president Dana White recently said he doesn’t think the former welterweight and middleweight champion has any interest in returning.
White: Lesnar ‘done’ with UFC
Former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar has fought once in the UFC since 2011 despite several flirtations with a return to the organization.
White has essentially closed the book on the professional wrestling superstar.
”He’s done,” White told TMZ Sports. “He’s made his decision. I don’t know where he is in that other world. I know he was looking into doing a new deal with (Vince McMahon) to stay with the WWE.”
Lesnar left the UFC to return to World Wrestling Entertainment after a knockout loss to Alistair Overeem in December 2011.
He returned in July 2016 and defeated Mark Hunt by unanimous decision, but tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and was suspended.
Lesnar, 41, was 3-1 in UFC title bouts.
Andrade title defense
Brazilian Jessica Andrade, who won the women’s strawweight title in her home country with a knockout of Rose Namajunas in May, might make her first defense in China.
According to an ESPN report, the organization is working on a bout between Andrade and Weili Zhang at a UFC Fight Night card Aug. 31 in Shenzhen, China.
Both fighters have agreed to the bout, but no official announcement has been made.
Zhang, a 29-year-old native of Hebei, China, is unbeaten in three UFC appearances and has 19 straight wins overall since losing her pro debut in 2013.
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June 22: Bellator 223 (DAZN), London
June 22: UFC Fight Night 153 (ESPN Plus), Greenville, S.C.
June 29: UFC on ESPN 3 (ESPN), Minneapolis
July 6: UFC 239 (ESPN/ESPN Plus PPV), T-Mobile Arena
July 12: Bellator 224 (Paramount), Thackerville, Okla.
July 13: UFC Fight Night 154 (ESPN Plus), Sacramento, Calif.