Conor McGregor is hoping to land a rematch with rival and undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov sometime in 2020. Many things have to line up for “Notorious” in order to get there, but the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion remains focused on getting another shot at 155-pound gold.
McGregor, who lost to Nurmagomedov via submission back at UFC 229, will be making his long-awaited return to the Octagon later this month at UFC 246 when he challenges Donald Cerrone in a welterweight bout. If McGregor is able to defeat “Cowboy” and secure his first UFC win since 2016 he will have more ammo to lobby for a rematch with Khabib.
According to McGregor, who has been trying to land a rematch with “Eagle” since their record-breaking meeting back at UFC 229, Nurmagomedov wants no part of a reboot. In fact, McGregor believes the undefeated UFC champion is scared just thinking about the idea of facing the Irish superstar one more time.
“He is trembling. That man is trembling,” McGregor said when speaking to the Mac Life. “He doesn’t want it. He doesn’t want it. You get it and he’s trying not to lose it again. I just smell sh*t. That’s all it is. He’s afraid and that’s it.
“But everyone wants it. The boss wants it, Dana [White] wants it, we all want it. So he can run but he cannot hide. I look forward to it.”
While many people believe Khabib handily defeated McGregor at UFC 229 and “Notorious” needs to win a few fights (not just one) to earn a title rematch, McGregor sees it a bit differently. Instead, McGregor believes he was winning the initial meeting back in 2018 before Khabib flipped the script in the later rounds.
“In my mind, round 1, I won round 1. I outstruck him 3-to-1,” McGregor said. “He had position on the mat but I outstruck him 3-to-1. What did he do in that first round? Second round, look at the lackadaisical approach I had, he was just running around the outside of the cage and he caught that lucky shot and he had a great second round. What happened after that? I win the third round.
“Even the opening exchanges in the fourth round. I was winning the fourth round up until that trip.”
McGregor, who will be competing at 170 pounds for just the third time in his career when he takes on “Cowboy” later this month, has reportedly enjoyed a healthy and fruitful fight camp leading into his return. The same can not be said about McGregor’s “horrendous” training camp for his initial spat with Khabib, which is one of the reasons why the Irishman wants to run things back.
“That was after a horrendous camp where I was so disrespectful to the people that believe in me,” McGregor said. “So disrespectful to my team with my lack of commitment and I still went out and done that. Then I also landed the final blow of the night on his blood brother and his cousin.”
Luckily, McGrgeor has the opportunity to fight his way back into contention and land a potential rematch with Khabib somewhere down the line. And who knows, if something happens to Khabib or Tony Ferguson leading into their scheduled title fight at UFC 249 this April then maybe McGregor can slide in as a late replacement and get his rematch even sooner.
“The way they are, it’s happened multiple times. Scheduled four times in a row, this is the fifth,” McGregor said while talking about a potential fallout for Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson.
“For me, I’m in my old frame of mind. I just want consistency. I want competition. It’s what I love to do. To be in that healthy state of mind and my body also. That’s it. Whoever, wherever.”
For complete UFC 246 fight card new click HERE.