A single impressive win over Donald Cerrone in Conor McGregor’s return to the UFC Octagon has not earned the Irishman a rematch with UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, at least according to the champ’s manager. In the eyes of UFC president Dana White, McGregor’s 40-second win over Cerrone in their UFC 246 welterweight main event was enough to punch McGregor’s return ticket to a lightweight title shot. Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, is following his client’s previous remarks that McGregor has to do much more to “earn” his championship opportunity.
“The only chance this fight could happen is in the street,” Abdelaziz told ESPN at Saturday’s UFC 247 event in Houston. “[McGregor would] have to do something spectacular. He’s s—, you understand? … Conor McGregor is one of the biggest stars, because he’s one of the biggest scumbags.”
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McGregor failed in his first go-round with Nurmagomedov at UFC229 in October 2018, getting largely dominated before the champ scored a submission win in Round 4. Bad blood that included McGregor’s equipment dolly assault on a bus containing Nurmagomedov and a lot of harsh words — including shots at Nurmagomedov’s Muslim faith — spilled over after the fight when a victorious Nurmagomedov charged into the crowd and attacked McGregor’s teammates, sparking a wild post-fight brawl.
Nurmagomedov is set to next defend his title at UFC 249 in April, taking on Tony Ferguson. The fight with Ferguson has been booked multiple times in the past, but for one reason or another has never come to fruition. That fight, not plans to award McGregor another title shot after winning a single fight at welterweight, is what is occupying Nurmagomedov’s plans, according to Abdelaziz.
“Conor needs to earn things,” Abdelaziz said. “He was a champion. He needs to earn things. Khabib really, really wants to make him earn it. It doesn’t matter, because what he says. We have a really, really tough fight. Everybody forgets about Tony, dismissing him. Khabib has been training for three months straight and he has two more months.”