Khabib Nurmagomedov's manager Ali Abdelaziz reveals who Conor McGregor must defeat if he wants another crack at The Eagle.
UFC's undefeated Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his title against Tony Ferguson in just a few weeks, but Khabib and his camp still can't escape talk of a rumored rematch against Conor McGregor.
Ahead of The Eagle's highly anticipated clash with Ferguson at UFC 249, manager Ali Abdelaziz reiterated that Khabib is unwilling to simply grant McGregor another title shot unless he can beat a worthy opponent. Specifically, Abdelaziz says Conor needs to defeat Lightweight contender Justin Gaethje.
Abdelaziz told ESPN's Brett Okamoto, "If Khabib wins on April 18, Conor McGregor is not getting a title shot—simple. Dana White is the best promoter of all time because he understands fighting and matchmaking. The only way Conor McGregor can fight for a title is if he beats someone like Justin Gaethje. If he were to do that, it would be hard to deny him."
According to ESPN's Ariel Helwani, the UFC is currently planning for a summertime fight between McGregor and Gaethje, which could very well set the stage for Khabib-Conor II, assuming both are victorious. That's an assumption that Abdelaziz isn't comfortable making because he believes Gaethje is a "nightmare matchup" for the Irish superstar.
"The reason why I don't think he's fought Justin Gaethje is I think out of everybody in the UFC, Justin Gaethje takes people to a different place. Many people break. And we've seen Conor McGregor break before. Justin Gaethje is a nightmare matchup for him."
McGregor (22-4, 10-2 UFC) made his return to the octagon at UFC 246 in January, where he disposed of the veteran Cowboy Cerrone within the opening minute. Khabib was wholly unimpressed by both fighters and he has said time and again that he's completely uninterested in another fight against McGregor, but Abdelaziz's recent comments suggest that there's now a clear path to the rematch.
And we already know that Dana White is itching to cash in on that highly anticipated showdown as soon as the opportunity presents itself.