Conor McGregor’s UFC lightweight title fight with Eddie Alvarez was not the only 155lb battle on the UFC 205 fight card last weekend.
While it was McGregor who took the majority of the plaudits and headlines from the event, fellow lightweight and now number one contender Khabib Nurmagomedov was also making waves in New York, big ones.
As it turned out, despite the Russian facing Michael Johnson at Madison Square Garden, his focus lay elsewhere throughout the match. His dominant display was punctuated by his between rounds declaration of intent to UFC president Dana White that he would ‘smash your boy‘. The boy being, of course, Conor McGregor.
With a record of 24-0, including 8-0 in the UFC, many MMA fans have long felt the 28-year-old is deserving of a title shot. Now, following his victory at the weekend, there is only one fight on his mind, Conor McGregor for the lightweight title.
A two-year layoff with injury has damaged the progress of the powerful grappler within the UFC, however, with two fights under his belt this year, it appears he has returned to his devastating best. As the top contender in the division, he has now given White a serious ultimatum, a title shot or he is gone.
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) November 16, 2016
This he followed up with
UFC been very good to me this not a threat. I got into this sport for the belt nothing personal https://t.co/1WtGRGAU6o
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) November 17, 2016
The Dagestan native looks to be drawing the battle lines in a similar way that former featherweight champion Jose Aldo did following the announcement that McGregor would face Alvarez and not Aldo at UFC 205.
So far it remains to be seen if Aldo will actually get his title shot and while many might say he should be afforded the chance to face McGregor once again, at the end of the day it seems to be up to the Irishman himself.
It can only be assumed, therefore, that the same will apply to Nurmagomedov. While he might be the top contender and the logical candidate, there is still the spectre of a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz looming over the division.
Since this would be a massive money maker for the UFC, it must be felt that this could well be the next step for McGregor. This would likely see Nurmagomedov left with the tough decision whether to sit tight or follow through with his assertion to leave the UFC for pastures new, something many fans would hate to see.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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