Undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is open to a rematch with Conor McGregor, but under one condition — ‘The Notorious’ must start winning fights again.
McGregor, who was submitted by Nurmagomedov at last year’s blockbuster UFC 229 pay-per-view in Las Vegas, hasn’t officially won a fight in almost three years and, speaking to BT Sport in a recent interview, Khabib said the Irishman is currently undeserving of a rematch.
“Have to deserve. I have to keep winning, he have to deserve, and that’s it,” Khabib said, per Clyde Aidoo of MMA News. “It’s gonna happen. But right now, I’m not interested in this fight. For what? He tapped. If it was like we go all distance or if it was a close fight, maybe. But right now, I finished this business. If you want a new business, deserve this.”
UFC president Dana White is open to the rematch for obvious reasons (money), but Nurmagomedov said the head promoter isn’t the only one calling the shots in the UFC.
“Right now, not only Dana make decision. I’m here, too,” Khabib said, smirking. “They have to listen to me. Because right now, I’m champion. And I know what I deserve, I know what opponents deserve. Right now, Dustin and Tony on the line. Other guys? Nobody deserve. Even if you talk about people who deserve, Conor is not on the list. He have to deserve.”
The reigning lightweight champ went on to reiterate that McGregor must earn his title shot by winning at least one more fight against a top contender.
“Last time he win, 2016. We talk about fight for the title, being best in the world. Please deserve. Come back and fight with someone and deserve this. No problem. But right now, a lot of tough and good opponents who have good win streak, they deserve.”
Nurmagomedov is currently focused on interim champ Dustin Poirier, who he will take on in a title unification bout at UFC 242. The highly anticipated PPV takes place on Sept. 7 at du Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.