When Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov withdrew from the upcoming UFC 249 fight card, thanks to the promotion’s failure to send him a location, longtime rival Conor McGregor called the quarantined “Eagle” a “chicken” for ducking the April 18 pay-per-view (PPV) event.
So why didn’t McGregor, who claimed he was “in shape to fight,” step in and take his place?
Probably because “Notorious” knew he was outgunned against Tony Ferguson, who will move on to face Justin Gaethje for the UFC interim lightweight title a week from Sat. night. That’s according to Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz.
“It’s crazy because this guy has been telling people to stay home, don’t come outside, he’s donating millions of dollars, which now we know this shit is all fake,” Abdelaziz told TMZ Sports. “You’re telling everybody to stay home, now Khabib — the government of Russia says he can’t travel, you’re going to call him a chicken? Why don’t you even jump on a plane and come fight Tony Ferguson? I bet he understands that Tony Ferguson would beat his ass too. All those three guys would beat his ass. Justin, Tony and Khabib.”
McGregor already holds a submission loss to Nurmagomedov from UFC 229 back in late 2018 and he’s no stranger to trash talk from both Ferguson and Gaethje. Unfortunately for fans, “Notorious” only fights when he feels like it, one of the benefits of being super rich.
Which is the reason the power-punching Irishman has yet to face “El Cucuy” or “The Highlight.”
The winner of Ferguson vs. Gaethje, expected to be held at this west coast location, will move on to fight Nurmagomedov in September, according to UFC President Dana White. That leaves McGregor in a holding pattern for the foreseeable future.
Unless he wants to return to welterweight.