Bisping says Khabib Nurmagomedov blew his chances of a title fight with McGregor after pulling out of UFC 209.
There’s no news yet on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s condition after being hospitalized due to a bad weight cut at UFC 209, but middleweight champion Michael Bisping thinks the undefeated Dagestani ruined his chances of ever fighting Conor McGregor for the lightweight title.
Nurmagomedov, who has faced weight cutting problems in the past and was 3.5 pounds over the lightweight limit against Abel Trujillo at UFC 160, was removed from his highly anticipated interim title fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 209.
It was a devastating blow to ‘The Eagle’s’ reputation, and his future as a lightweight contender is now in question.
Even if Nurmagomedov does get rescheduled to fight the No. 2 ranked ‘El Cucuy’, Bisping believes McGregor will never accept a fight with him because he’s a ‘pull-out merchant’.
“One million per cent, it KILLS his chances of ever fighting Conor and it puts the UFC in a very difficult position,” Bisping said on his new podcast Believe You Me on Monday (h/t Patrick McCarry of SportsJoe). “If they make that rematch between Khabib and Tony, and Khabib wins, there is no way Conor is going to accept that because he is going to say, ‘I’m not going to take that risk of having an entire fight camp for him not to make it to the Octagon so I’m not going to do it’.”
Meanwhile Ferguson, who is on a nine-fight win streak, warned McGregor that ‘he’s next’ in a recent Instragram post but the Irishman is busy pursuing a boxing superfight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor faced criticism for not defending his featherweight title last year — McGregor has since been stripped of the belt and Jose Aldo has been reinstated as champion — and ‘The Notorious’ has come under similar fire for ignoring the top lightweight contenders in favor of a showdown against Mayweather.
With McGregor’s absence from the sport and Nurmagomedov’s weight cutting problems, the 155-pound division is in disarray. The SBG Ireland product hasn’t offered his take on UFC 209, presumably because he’s focused on making a boxing debut against the sport’s pound-for-pound great in Mayweather.
Bloody Elbow will keep you updated on any new developments.