Khabib Nurmagamedov and Conor McGregor still don’t like each other. The pair have the most toxic rivalry in MMA today. Even by the lofty standards set by Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, this is particularly bad. We’ve seen buses attacked, teammates intimidated and a full-on brawl.
McGregor called Khabib’s wife a ‘goat in a tea towel’ and Khabib called him a ‘rapist.’ The UFC was forced to intervene. This was unprecedented. However, The Notorious is desperate for a rematch with Khabib.
But ‘The Eagle’ isn’t feeling benevolent. He doesn’t want to give McGregor a shot at redemption unless he earns it. Khabib’s manager Ali Abdelaziz made his client’s feelings very clear in an interview with TMZ.
First of all, Abdelaziz spoke about how it made business sense for the UFC to want the rematch. He was very respectful about UFC President Dana White. However, he doesn’t think McGregor will beat ‘Cowboy’ Cerone. Nor does he want to just hand McGregor a title shot. Khabib has other plans for his future.
“Listen, Dana’s the greatest promoter in history, I respect the man very much,” he said. “He has to make people care about Conor. And by mentioning Khabib’s name, he is making Conor more relevant. It’s OK. He promotes, can do whatever. Khabib has a plan, Dana has a plan, sometimes we’ll get upset, sometimes we’ll agree, but business moves on.
“But Conor’s not on our radar. He might lose to ‘Cowboy,’ as far as I understand. I think he might lose.”
Meanwhile, the Egyptian manager was dismissive about McGregor’s physical condition. John Kavanagh tweeted that McGregor is in the shape of his life. The Notorious got tired in both of his previous fights at welterweight. Abdelaziz said that this was nonsense because they said the same thing before the Khabib fight.
Listen, his coaches before the fight (with Khabib) said, ‘He’s ready, he’s going to knock Khabib out inside three rounds, he’s never been in better shape.’ And after that, they said they had a horrible camp, his food was like a balloon. They’re liars.
“He looks like a blew-out balloon. He’s a bodybuilder. That’s what I think. He’s getting no love from us.”
Finally, Abdelaziz says that McGregor doesn’t deserve a title shot if he beats Cerrone. There’s definitely some truth there as Justin Gaethje has already achieved that feat and is waiting impatiently for his shot. Abdelaziz also represents Gaethje and he wants him to fight for the title next. To be fair, he has a point.
“What about guys like Justin Gaethje?” he suggested. “He’s been winning and knocking people out. Logically, he is (the next top contender). He’s ranked No. 3. No. 2, Dustin Poirier, fought for the title. That’s the only fight that makes sense for him, for his career, to fight the champion.”
Of course, money talks at the end of the day. The UFC is desperate to put McGregor in the most high-profile fights possible. Realistically if he beats Cerrone then Masvidal will be next. Khabib isn’t fighting until April and then he’s got Ramadan. ‘The Notorious’ wants to fight three times this year, so expect him to take on someone else before any rematch with ‘The Eagle.’