Khabib Nurmagomedov dismisses Conor McGregor rematch, sets sights on Tony Ferguson, Georges St-Pierre
The UFC lightweight champ has a specific plan in place to secure his legacy
Undefeated in his professional mixed martial arts career and at the top of the UFC lightweight world, reigning 155-pound champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has every right to begin planning out a future that will afford him the opportunity to go down as one of the all-time best to compete inside the Octagon. Wednesday in London, UFC held a press conference to promote Nurmagomedov's next title defense against interim champion Dustin Poirier on Sept. 7 in Abu Dhabi at UFC 242, and "The Eagle" laid out his ideal scenario in which he can be called the undisputed best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
"I have to beat Dustin, I have to beat Tony Ferguson and GSP [Georges St-Pierre]," Nurmagomedov said. "And then I can become pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter, and this is my opinion."
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Uponen route to a second-round TKO victory, the popular opinion is that the time has come where Ferguson (25-3), who's carrying a 12-fight win streak, can no longer be denied an opportunity at the undisputed lightweight championship in his next outing. Despite difficulties when it comes to pairing Ferguson and Nurmagomedov (27-0) in the past, they still appear on a collision course to give us a lightweight showdown years in the making.
St-Pierre (26-2), meanwhile, announced his retirement in February, but made clear his hope was to book a fight against Nurmagomedov before riding off into the sunset. Per St-Pierre, UFC decided it had other plans in place for the lightweight champion, but should Nurmagomedov carry out his plan successfully in defending against Poirier (25-5) and Ferguson, you'd have to imagine Khabib vs. GSP could be revisited and the legend could ultimately be coaxed out of his supposed permanent vacation from the Octagon. St-Pierre claimed the middleweight title over Michael Bisping in 2017 before vacating the belt rather than hold up the division.
Peering into this potential future within the 155-pound division is mouth-watering for diehard MMA fans, yet many are likely still asking: What about a rematch with Conor McGregor? While money talks in the fight game and anything is possible, Nurmagomedov seems to feel that his emphatic third-round submission victory at UFC 229 was satisfactory enough, and given McGregor's recent track record, he's essentially deemed the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion unworthy of running it back.
"He tap, he beg me, 'please don't kill me,' ya know, and now we talk rematch?" Nurmagomedov said. "Tony Ferguson on the line. People who have win streak on the line. Not the guy who don't win nothing last three years. Right now I'm focused on Sept. 7."
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