Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has been waiting to fight Conor McGregor for a long time, and now that the Irishman is eligible to compete again following a plea deal for assault charges, “The Eagle” vows to properly punish him.
McGregor just accepted a plea deal that keeps him out of jail stemming from an assault in Brooklyn days before UFC 223, with the target being none other than Nurmagomedov himself. While McGregor avoided jail time, Nurmagomedov says he will gladly put a punitive beating on him, even if McGregor doesn’t exactly deserve an immediate title shot.
“Conor is 2-2 in his last four fights,” Nurmagomedov said at a fan Q&A before UFC on Fox 30 on Friday [h/t to MMA Junkie]. “He doesn’t deserve a title shot. But we know that’s the money fight.” “My plan is make him flat, make him tired and make him give up,” Nurmagomedov said. “This is my plan. I don’t want to finish him early. I want to make him pay for all things that happen… When cage door closes I believe this will happen. … If 25 minutes we can call jail, I think for him it’s going to be jail. For you guys it’s going to be enjoyment.”
McGregor (21-3) held the lightweight belt after defeating former champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in Nov. 2016. “The Notorious” was eventually stripped of the title, however, due to failure to defend it.
The belt has been passed around a bit since then, but is currently wrapped around Nurmagomedov’s waist, which sets up a perfect opportunity for the two men to finally settle their differences:
“If you have problem with somebody, why you need to come with 30 people with camera?” Nurmagomedov told reporters on Friday. “I don’t understand this. Yesterday UFC called me. ‘We need you. We need to talk with you.’ They said, ‘We have to give you a couple security guys.’ This guy put tweet then he deleted. He put tweet, ‘Cavalry, let’s go to Canada.’ Why you need cavalry? Just send me location.”
Nurmagomedov won the title himself after defeating Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 in April and isn’t scheduled as of yet for his first title defense. With McGregor rumored to make his long-awaited UFC return before the end of the year, the timing for a showdown between the two is finally right for both men. Either way, the still-undefeated Nurmagomedov isn’t sweating the challenge:
“He don’t have conditioning. He don’t have wrestling. He don’t have anything. He have one very good left hand. I’m going to cut this angle and try to take him down 100 times. He think if Khabib fight like I did against Iaquinta, maybe he can beat me. But look at my 10 [UFC] fights. They’re all different.”