UFC Russian has been leaning towards retirement
Few were shocked when Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Conor McGregor in a fourth-round submission back in October of 2018, yet the Irish fighter is trying to taunt the Russian into giving him a rematch, at a time when Khabib has been contemplating retirement.
McGregor‘s skills and focus appeared to be on the wane that night, as his celebrity far outweighed his production in the octagon.
With that being said, his career to that point was era defining in the UFC, and he has the desire to reign in the UFC once more.
To do that, he will have to take the lightweight belt off Khabib, who looked set to retire despite a string of conversations with Dana White in recent weeks.
The Russian stated that he would only return to fight if someone impressed him at UFC 257, which was a pointed message to McGregor.
Dustin Poirier is the opponent set for McGregor, and a victory could well setup a blockbuster McGregor-Khabib II bout which would set PPV buys alight.
Others, though, believe that Khabib‘s non-committal statement is more of a sign that he doesn’t wish to fight the Irishman again, something which McGregor also believes.
“I think he’s scared to fight me, and I don’t blame him,” McGregor explained in an interview with ESPN.
“I fought the best of him that night [UFC 229], and he fought the worst version of me.
“He knows it, I know it and his team knows it.”
Rather bizarrely, the Dublin-born fighter believes he never technically lost the belt to Khabib, based on the fact a peaceful transition of power never took place, amidst chaos in the octagon after the submission.
“The unified title was never finalised,” McGregor added.
“That day he fled and left me fighting with members of his family in the cage.
“The post-fight ceremony never took place, so I still feel like the champion.”