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Conor McGregor already outboxed Nate Diaz, prefers Khabib rematch for UFC return

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion, Conor McGregor, who stepped inside the cage just once since late 2016, finds himself in unfamiliar territory after a prolonged absence from mixed martial arts (MMA).

Not only does “Notorious” not own a championship title, he’s got no one left to fight.

That might sound impossible for a pay-per-view (PPV) juggernaut like McGregor, who claims he was in negotiations with Justin Gaethje before injuring his hand, but fans might be more interested in watching “Notorious” rival, Nate Diaz, fight welterweight “goon,” Jorge Masvidal.

McGregor told ESPN, “that does not matter now.”

“Nate is a crafty individual,” he said. “I did not feel like I was being boxed out. I boxed Nate out, in reality. If he does not want the trilogy bout, no problem. I don’t blame him. Look at the fights, look at the damage. They were intense bouts.”

McGregor’s first choice would be a Khabib Nurmagomedov rematch after falling to “The Eagle” by way of submission last October. But the Dagestani champion is booked to fight Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 and with a win, is likely to face Tony Ferguson for his next title defense.

That grudge match trumps the Irishman’s desire for redemption.

“In my return fight, I want my world title back. I want that redemption,” McGregor told Ariel Helwani. “The camp was incorrect. Knowing the commitment that I had in that camp. Knowing the performance that I put on. Although I had reasons and I had injuries, who gives a shit. What happened, happened. I know what I can do. I’ve done it before. I’ve done it before when I was doubted so I’m eager to do it again.”

McGregor should be more worried about staying out of legal trouble than who he's fighting inside the cage. “Notorious” was in another altercation back in April during his Proper No. 12 whiskey tour and just can’t seem to keep himself out of the tabloids.

Maybe he should have just settled for that co-main event, instead.

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