Khabib Nurmagomedov had an interesting run-in with TMZ on Thursday.
After Conor McGregor’s successful court hearing, his UFC return looks imminent, and the world is awaiting the announcement of a lightweight title fight against the current champion.
The rhetoric from the two fighters has ramped up recently, but in an interview with TMZ, Nurmagomedov’s comments were a slight cause for concern.
He was non-committal on whether the fight would happen, which is a common refrain when an official announcement hasn’t yet been made. But the undefeated champion repeated demands for a better payday, unless the UFC want him committing to a fight with Dustin Poirier per his contract.
“If they want to make a money fight, they have to pay me too, you know”, he told the outlet via their YouTube channel.
“I’m not going to give him a chance to use my name, Conor makes money, UFC makes money, but I make 200 thousand, no way. If they want to do that, I can fight off my current contract.
“I hope it’s going to be made, because I really want to change this guy’s face. I don’t need him – he needs me. In his last four fights he is 2-2. He doesn’t fight in two years, he doesn’t deserve this.”
It’s remarkable that the UFC would jeopardise likely the biggest fight in their history, at a time when they need it most, by not paying the actual champion. Even if his demands are Nate Diaz-like in excess of eight figures, the brass at WME need to cough up.
That being said, both men are currently in New York, and when asked what would happen if they crossed paths, Khabib had a one word answer: “Fight”.