‘The Eagle’ doesn’t often mention his Irish rival by name anymore.
But Khabib Nurmagomedov hinted at his prediction for the upcoming UFC 264 main event between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.
McGregor recently outlined his plans for the rest of the year on social media, revealing that he intends to spend 2021 in the lightweight division and regain the title before a move back up to welterweight.
McGregor’s plans depend heavily on the outcome of his trilogy fight with Poirier, with the winner likely to be next in line for the newly-crowned 155lbs champion Charles Oliveira.
I’m a block at 170 guys. Give me till end of year at this 155 weight. I’ll get the strap and then I’ll go up again. After green fungus panties hahaha “cos any one of these fools can get it” – usman 😂
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 25, 2021
Nurmagomedov, who vacated his title after retiring unbeaten, gave his blessing to Oliveira as new lightweight champ but doubted whether the Brazilian would still hold the 155lbs title by the time Nurmagomedov’s protege Islam Makhachev finds himself in title contention.
Nurmagomedov instead named Poirier as the next man to hold the belt, suggesting that the American will beat McGregor again this summer.
“Oliveira improved a lot and he deserves to be champion. I’m really happy for him because when anyone reaches success you have to respect that. I think he deserves to be champion,” Nurmagomedov told reporters, as translated by RT Sport.
He continued: “I don’t think he’ll be champion when Islam rises to that level.
“It’s important that Oliveira doesn’t misinterpret my words. I respect him. I just think when Islam goes up the rankings after a year there will be another champion. I think it will be Dustin Poirier.”
Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor
Nurmagomedov clearly believes Poirier will come out on top against McGregor on July 10, which will set up the lightweight title shot that ‘The Diamond’ turned down in favour of the rubber match with his Irish rival.
Nurmagomedov fought both McGregor and Poirier, submitting both men, and judging by his prediction for how the lightweight division will play out over the next 12 months, ‘The Eagle’ was more impressed with the latter than the former.