Despite the ugly post-fight brawl that broke at UFC 229 last month, the first instalment to the Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor heated rivalry remained to be a great success for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The fight became the second largest gate and the highest pay-per-view record in the promotion’s history so a rematch can likely guarantee the promotion of another massive breakthrough. However, the Dagestani’s camp claimed that the second encounter between its star and ‘The Notorious’ might have a major twist as the UFC lightweight champion wants to bring the rematch in a different battlefield.
No Immediate Rematch
In case you are living under the rocks, Nurmagomedov submitted McGregor in the fourth round of their gigantic clash last October 6 at T-mobile Arena. ‘The Eagle’ retained his UFC lightweight belt and improved his unbeaten record to 27-0 while the Irish star absorbed his fourth loss in his UFC career and his first defeat since returning to the octagon after a two-year layoff.
Days after the humiliating loss, the former two-division champion has asked UFC president Dana White for an immediate rematch as confirmed by the promotion chief himself but stressed that Tony Fergusson could be next in line for the Russian star.
“Conor McGregor has already called me wanting an immediate rematch. We’ll see what happens with Khabib and what’s next. I mean, Tony Ferguson looked amazing, those two have been lined up to fight three different times and it hasn’t happened, so we’ll see how this thing plays out.”
McGregor then said in a lengthy Instagram post about his performance at UFC 229 that he would be willing to face other fighters to get another shot at Khabib.
“It was a great fight and it was my pleasure. I will be back with my confidence high. Fully prepared. If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line. It’s all me always, anyway.”
— be2Sports (@Be2Sports) November 19, 2018
After the madness at UFC 229, fans continued to anticipate what is next for both UFC stars. McGregor has been rumoured to face Donald Cerrone while Khabib has been very busy on his activities outside the MMA but he recently challenged the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. to a boxing fight.
Speaking of a boxing fight, Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, recently revealed that his son is interested in a fight with the Irish star under boxing rules for their rematch. He told the Russian news outlet Izvestia last weekend:
“As for the fight against Conor under boxing rules, this is a fight we are interested in. Khabib showed that he is able to beat the best strikers of mixed martial arts. He said this before, but few believed it. However, after strong victories over Michael Johnson, Edson Barboza, and Conor, people begin to believe.”
“Nurmagomedov is able to do it in the boxing ring. Khabib has all the skills to win by the rules of boxing. One of the key skills can be called endurance. I remember his five-round fight with Iaquinta, in which Khabib showed his willingness to fight in absolutely any area, using everything from a light left jab to control on the ground. I want to note that the fight with Iaquinta was of great importance for us, there was a title belt at stake and it was important to keep the bout calm and take the win. Which we did.”
Khabib is known as the best grappler in the promotion while his boxing skills are not often praised. McGregor, meanwhile, has great striking in his arsenal so he can have an instant edge over his rival if their rematch takes place inside the ring. Obviously, this boxing bout would be for money sake but the question is will the UFC give it a go?
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/The Notorious MMA and Khabib Nurmagomedov)