Category Archives: Khabib Nurmagomedov

Conor McGregor: I'd like to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov; Nate Diaz trilogy 'also on my mind'

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LONDON – Will UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor return to MMA after potentially making $100 million for his boxing superfight with Floyd Mayweather? That question seems to be on the minds of many.

It especially was late last month when UFC President Dana White caused a stir after telling MMAjunkie that McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) wishes to defend his title in against Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) in December.

In Russia.

McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, seemed to corroborate that story this week when he said McGregor “seems very, very motivated to go to Russia in December” but without specifically mentioning Nurmagomedov as an opponent.

On Friday, following the final press conference of the Mayweather vs. McGregor world tour in London, “The Notorious” sort of cleared the air on a potential bout with “The Eagle” in Russia.

“It’s certainly one of the things I would like to do,” McGregor told MMAjunkie backstage at SSE Arena Wembley. “Whether it’s next, I don’t know. I don’t even know how close the Russia thing is. Whether Khabib can pull his (expletive) together; he missed weight.”

If not Nurmagomedov, McGregor has no shortage of options, with Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) and Edson Barboza (19-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC) also possible contenders.

“There’s a few of them in the mix,” McGregor said. “A few of them need to pull their (expletive) together, though, and get interest going and get me interested. Right now I don’t actually see anything.”

But then McGregor dropped this line that’s sure to perk up Nate Diaz.

“That Diaz trilogy is also on my mind,” he said.

If money is McGregor’s primary motivation upon his return to the UFC, then Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC) as his first title defense would seemingly make the most sense. The their two headliners last year were responsible for two of the top three best selling UFC pay-per-views of all time. The rematch at UFC 202, which McGregor won via majority decision, is No. 1 all time. Diaz choked out McGregor in their first encounter at UFC 196, which is No. 3 all time.

Diaz has declined fight offers from the UFC since the loss. He’s also been outspokenly against the Mayweather-McGregor fight, which McGregor doesn’t understand.

“He should really be thankful,” McGregor said. “Before he fought me he was (getting paid) 20,000 to show and 20,000 to win. His 19th fight in the UFC, and he was on 40 grand. Now he’s a multi-millionaire. So, I don’t know why he’s sitting there so bitter. Maybe them smacks he took in that rematch messed with his head a little bit. I hope not, but I think they did.”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Tony Ferguson believes '(expletive) lazy' Khabib Nurmagomedov is setting himself up to fail

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UFC lightweight title contender Tony Ferguson applauds the idea of the UFC sending Khabib Nurmagomedov to the promotion’s Performance Institute. But if Nurmagomedov waits until his next fight camp to get there, Ferguson believes it will be for naught.

“I think wholeheartedly the Performance Institute is a good idea, but if he wants to wait until fall to do that, I think you’re preparing for failure,” Ferguson told MMAjunkie Radio. “You need to get your ass there now.

“Learn how to count some calories and actually give a (expletive) for your weight. I understand he doesn’t need money to fight – then retire. (Expletive) go away, man. You want to fight at 170, you want make a superfight, well we can handle that.”

Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) is waiting on his next booking after his pay-per-view co-headliner against Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) at UFC 209 was canceled when a bad weight cut forced Nurmagomedov to withdraw.

A title fight with champ Conor McGregor is obviously Ferguson’s preference, but McGregor is tied up with a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather. Ferguson said the Irish champ made sure to avoid a confrontation when he crashed the first press conference Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Although his fight with Nurmagomedov has been canceled three times, Ferguson is still open to the idea of an interim title bout with the Dagestani fighter, even if he remains skeptical whether it will happen.

Ferguson called Nurmagomedov “(expletive) lazy” and said of his weight cut, “There is a right way to do it, and I think the old-school way that they’re doing it needs to be upgraded.”

That’s presumably where the Performance Institute comes in. This past weekend, UFC President Dana White said Nurmagomedov will get access to nutritionists and other sports therapists to ensure he’s able to safely make 155 pounds.

 

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Source: MMA Junkie

Did John Kavanagh double down on Conor McGregor wanting Khabib Nurmagomedov in Russia?

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GLASGOW – Conor McGregor’s coach said the UFC lightweight champion is “very motivated” to return to the octagon in December after his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.

And if we’re picking up what John Kavanagh is putting down, it turns out Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) is indeed McGregor’s No. 1 target.

“He seems very, very motivated to go to Russia in December,” Kavanagh told reporters during media day for UFC Fight Night 113, which takes place Sunday at SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. “I don’t know if he’s been watching Rocky IV or something like that.”

Since McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) booked a blockbuster fight with boxing champ Floyd Mayweather (49-0 boxing) , a growing chorus of fighters and industry professionals have questioned whether the UFC champ will return to the octagon if “The Money Fight” cashes in as expected.

But UFC President Dana White told MMAjunkie that not only does McGregor plan to continue fighting in MMA, he wants to take on the opponent many in the MMA world believe to be his toughest possible challenge.

“He said, ‘I want Khabib in Russia,’” White said this past month in an exclusive interview. “Isn’t he (expletive) awesome? He’s awesome. Conor McGregor is a (expletive) unicorn. There’s nothing like him. He’s working on boxing Floyd Mayweather and then he’s talking about fighting Khabib in Russia right after.”

With that said, White has cautioned there’s no way to be sure of McGregor’s plans – the Irish champ is a pretty unpredictable guy. And White did say this past weekend that he wanted to see Nurmagomedov finally face off with top contender Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC). After Nurmagomedov got some education on proper weight-cutting at the
UFC Performance Institute, White said he wanted to give the matchup another shot.

Still, McGregor’s longtime coach and confidant is a pretty good source when it comes to McGregor’s plans. The pair wrapped the first phase of training for “The Money Fight” and will be back at it next week, trying to formulate the plan that will turn the combat sports world on its head.

Right now, McGregor is trying to get inside Mayweather’s head as the two embark on a four-city tour in support of the pay-per-view headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Although most industry veterans say McGregor has no chance against Mayweather, boxing’s pound-for-pound great, Kavanagh said the transition from MMA to boxing is not as difficult as most make it out to be.

“(McGregor is) not trying to win Wimbledon – it’s not that different,” he said. “The understanding of range and how to move around, a lot of his fights have ended with that left hand. It’s not completely different.”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor” and UFC Fight Night 113, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Ferguson-Nurmagomedov top choice for White – but Ferguson-Gaethje also intriguing

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LAS VEGAS – The thrice-canceled bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson may get a fourth attempt.

But if Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) isn’t able to solve the issues that led him to withdraw from the third attempted booking, newly minted star Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) could take his place.

UFC President Dana White said Gaethje’s callout of Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) – and Ferguson’s response – didn’t prompt him to immediately make the fight. He had other things in mind.

“I actually still want to see Khabib vs. Tony,” White said on Saturday. “It doesn’t have to happen first, but I’d kind of like to see it.

“I know that Khabib is set up to come to Las Vegas and go to the (UFC) Performance Institute and work with the nutritionists there and therapists. But if he’s not ready to fight, I’d go Gaethje and Tony.”

Gaethje made a sensational debut Friday at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, bringing the house to its feet with a back-and-forth battle with Michael Johnson (17-12 MMA, 9-8 UFC) in the FS1-televised headliner. After getting rocked multiple times, he walked away with a second-round TKO to stay unbeaten.

Afterward, Gaethje welcomed any potential foe and estimated he had one or two fights before being ready to vie for a title. But he specifically targeted Ferguson as his ideal opponent for an interim title bout, even though he thought Ferguson wouldn’t accept.

One day later, he was proven wrong when Ferguson responded – with the caveat that the fight would have to be for an interim title.

As it turns out, Gaethje may have to wait for Ferguson. But in the meantime, White said, there are plenty of good options on the table in the lightweight division while current champ Conor McGregor is focused on his upcoming boxing mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather.

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Edson Barboza: Conor McGregor 'thinking about another sport,' so why doesn't UFC strip title?

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The UFC lightweight division is loaded with possible title contenders. And yet, it remains on hold as champion Conor McGregor prepares for his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather later this summer.

McGregor  (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) won the belt from Eddie Alvarez last November at UFC 205 and hasn’t defended it since. By the time he does – if he does – it likely will have been more than a year since McGregor competed in MMA.

That doesn’t sit well with Edson Barboza (19-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC), who explained why in an appearance on the “Fight Society” podcast.

“Conor stays out for a long time. I don’t think he worries about the UFC, don’t worry about the division. He (doesn’t) respect us, and the UFC don’t get his belt,” said Barboza, who is No. 5 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings. “I really don’t understand why the UFC got the belt from (Germaine de Randamie) and why the UFC (doesn’t) get the belt from Conor? Take the belt (from) Conor. I really don’t understand. I think this belt in the UFC, Conor’s not a real champ.”

Of course, “Conor’s not a real champ” won’t go over well with his ardent supporters, especially when you consider how soundly he finished Alvarez for the title. But Barboza’s statement seems to be based not so much on results as it is on attitude.

“This guy is thinking about boxing; he’s thinking about another sport,” Barboza said. “He don’t think about the UFC. He don’t think about the division. That’s my job; that’s my work. I’m in the UFC to get the belt. I’m in the UFC to be the champ. I know I deserve the chance. This guy, because of him, our division is stuck. That’s not good. This guy doesn’t respect nobody. He doesn’t respect the UFC, and he’s still champ. That’s crazy.”

Certainly you could understand Barboza’s frustration, which is likely to be shared by fellow top contenders Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, and others in the division. The situation is what it is, though, and the fact remains we likely won’t have clarity on the future of the division until after McGregor-Mayweather.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Dana White: Conor McGregor wants Khabib Nurmagomedov in Russia after Floyd Mayweather

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LAS VEGAS – The UFC lightweight title is on hold while Conor McGregor prepares for his boxing mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather. However, it appears “The Notorious” has some grand plans for his return to MMA.

According to UFC President Dana White, who believes McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) will return to the UFC to defend his title regardless of the Mayweather outcome, the previously scheduled interim lightweight title bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will be booked again despite three failed attempts.

McGregor, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, apparently believes No. 2-ranked Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) would come out of that fight victorious and meet him in a unification bout in his return to the octagon.

The twist, though, is that the Irishman wants it to happen in Russia.

“You know what Conor told me? He said, ‘I want Khabib in Russia,’” White told MMAjunkie on Wednesday at UFC headquarters. “Isn’t he (expletive) awesome? He’s like, ‘I want Khabib, in Russia.’ He’s awesome. Conor McGregor is a (expletive) unicorn. There’s nothing like him. He’s working on boxing Floyd Mayweather and then he’s talking about fighting Khabib in Russia right after.”

The UFC has never held an event in Russia during its nearly 24-year history. The region has become one of the great hotbeds for talent in recent years, though, with Dagestan’s Nurmagomedov being arguably the best.

“The Eagle” is riding the longest MMA winning streak of any active UFC fighter at 24 fights, but his recent career has included much adversity. Nurmagomedov was scheduled to fight Ferguson for the interim 155-pound belt at UFC 209 in March. However, the bout fell apart on weigh-in day when Nurmagomedov was hospitalized following a bad weight cut.

Although McGregor has called Nurmagomedov a “pullout merchant” who has more to prove before a title shot, he may change his tune should Nurmagomedov get past Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) in their fight.

White didn’t announce when or where Nurmagomedov-Ferguson would take place, just that it needs to happen.

“Those guys (have) got to fight,” White said. “It would have seemed a lot worse if those two guys fought (at UFC 209), and they were all sitting around waiting. It didn’t happen. That fight still needs to happen. So this thing could time out perfectly.”

Whether an event in Russia is realistic for within the timeframe McGregor and Nurmagomedov could clash remains to be seen, but White said the willingness of the champion to do something so bold is just one reason McGregor has achieved unmatched notoriety for an MMA fighter.

“Those are the kind of things that make that kid a (expletive) superstar,” White said. “I’ve got guys telling me, ‘I don’t want to (expletive) – I don’t want to fight this guy, and I don’t want to do this.’ (Conor says), ‘I want Floyd Mayweather then I want (expletive) Khabib in Russia.’ How do you not love him? How do you not love Conor McGregor? Amazing.”

For more on the upcoming UFC schedule and , check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

So, maybe this Stephen Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal idea has legs after all

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This past week UFC welterweight contenders Stephen Thompson and Jorge Masvidal stood on stage together and discussed a possible bout – together. It appears they’re still committed to the matchup.

Thompson (13-2-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) and Masvidal (32-12 MMA, 9-5 UFC) recently were part of a UFC fan Q&A that preceded UFC Fight Night 111 in Singapore. There, they both pushed for the matchup

Thopmson is No. 2 in the latest TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, and Masvidal is No. 9. Both are coming off losses. Thompson recently suffered a narrow majority-decision defeat to champ Tyron Woodley in March (they fought to a draw in the bout prior); Masvidal most recently suffered a split-decision defeat to No. 5 Demian Maia.

Soon after the Q&A – and soon after No. 5-ranked lightweight and ex-champ Rafael dos Anjos (26-9 MMA, 15-7 UFC) made a successful move to welterweight with a decision victory over Tarec Saffiedine (16-7 MMA, 2-4 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 111 – No. 2-ranked lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) tweeted that Masvidal should fight RDA.

Masvidal, though, suggested a bout with Thompson is still his plan (via Twitter):

“(It’s not official) yet, but we want it,” Thompson said during Friday’s Q&A. “We definitely want it, to get together and get out there in the octagon and face off. Obviously, you saw him in his last fight, which I thought he won against Demian Maia. (Masvidal is) a very good striker, and I think it’s going to be fireworks.”

With Maia expected to be champ Woodley’s next opponent, Thompson vs. Masvidal could be a solid title-eliminator – or at least provide some further clarity in the welterweight title picture.

Masvidal, though, said he simply likes the challenge of facing a striker like Thompson.

“He does things that nobody really in the division does,” Masvidal said. “The karate that he brings and the high level that he brings, it’s only him that does that. I would have to get in special sparring partners, I’d have to get guys that could mimic that, and I’d have to prepare for it.

“It’s going to happen, man. Hopefully.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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