Khabib Nurmagomedov has spoken about what needs to happen in order for him to grant a rematch to his great rival, the former champion Conor McGregor.
In many ways, the rivalry could well have reached something of a point of closure at UFC 229 had The Eagle not lived up to his name and vaulted straight into the corner of the Irishman, soaring through the air before attacked his teammate Dillon Danis.
In all honesty, it was a pretty spectacular sight, despite the sour taste it left in the mouth of all of those who tuned in.
Nurmagomedov was the subject of quite a bit of abuse from Conor over the course of the weeks and months that led up to the fight, abuse that he, of course, returned, but when it came to the fight’s conclusion, his self-control went out the window and his emotions got the better of him.
Speaking in a recent interview with BTSport, Khabib voiced his confusion at the prospect of the thoroughly-dominated lightweight title-challenger getting an immediate crack at his belt without fighting another contender first.
“Have to deserve. I have to keep winning, he have to deserve, and that’s it. It’s gonna happen. But right now, I’m not interested in this fight.
“For what? He tapped. If it was like we go all distance or if it was a close fight, maybe. But right now, I finished this business. If you want a new business, deserve this.”
There is some concern among those who are purists within the sport that the allure of a massive money-fight between these two rivals will be too much to pass up on for Dana and co, especially on the back of their recent broadcasting deal with ESPN.
This is mainly due to the fact that many worthy challengers are to be found within the 155lb ranks and Conor had caused something of a logjam around the division’s upper-echelons in the years since leaving featherweight.
Through grinning teeth, Nurmagomedov made it clear that he too will have quite a lot of say in the matter of who he fights as he gears up to find some consistency in his reign.
“Right now, not only Dana make decision. I’m here, too. They have to listen to me. Because right now, I’m champion. And I know what I deserve, I know what opponents deserve. Right now, Dustin and Tony on the line. Other guys? Nobody deserve. Even if you talk about people who deserve, Conor is not on the list. He have to deserve.
“Last time he win, 2016. We talk about fight for the title, being best in the world. Please deserve. Come back and fight with someone and deserve this. No problem. But right now, a lot of tough and good opponents who have good win streak, they deserve.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena