At UFC 205, Conor McGregor became the first man in history to hold two UFC titles simultaneously when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez to claim the lightweight strap. Earlier that evening, undefeated lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov beat down Michael Johnson before submitting him with a kimura and then got on the microphone and called out Dana Whites chicken for a fight for the belt. Now, almost two years later, we may finally be getting that fight.
Speaking with MMANytt recently, McGregors striking coach Owen Roddy addressed the recent rumors that Nurmagomedov would be defending his lightweight belt against McGregor this fall, suggesting that there could be some truth to the talk.
I cant confirm anything but it would be great, Roddy said. Conors training hard, hes always training. Hes motivated and he wants to fight, its just that he gets a few things sorted out and then he sits down and negotiates a good deal for his next fight. I think it will be another big spectacle like they always are. So Im excited, just like everybody else.
I dont know but I think [Khabib]s at the forefront. I always say, Conor wants the biggest fights that he can possibly have and I think, at the moment, Khabib seems to be that guy.
Since UFC 205, McGregor and Nurmagomedov have had starkly divergent paths. McGregor has not fought since then, instead boxing Floyd Mayweather in one of the most lucrative fights of all time, but at the cost of being stripped of both of his UFC titles due to inactivity. Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov has turned in two more dominating performance, including winning the lightweight title McGregor had taken from him by outclassing Al Iaquinta at UFC 223.
Perhaps more important than Nurmagomedovs title-claiming performance though was McGregors performance beforehand. McGregor showed up to a media event before UFC 223 and attacked the bus Nurmagomedov was traveling on, resulting in his arrest and current legal troubles. While UFC President Dana White called the event the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in UFC history, it also kicked up a broader interest in a Nurmagomedov-McGregor bout. An interest that Roddy says is reminiscent of McGregors boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.
Im sure its just down to the right negotiations but yeah, I think it is building, Roddy said. This kind of started similarly with the Mayweather fight; there was talk, there was a bit of back and forth and a bit of drama and then once the crowd and once the fans get behind it, they ultimately create the fight. Its brewing up nicely.
Before any kind of fight plans can be arranged though, McGregors team says they need to deal with his legal issues first. He is currently negotiating a plea deal and is set to return to court on July 26. Should everything go well then though, Roddy says McGregor and his coaches are ready to face Nurmagomedov whenever the deal can get done, and they like their chances at getting the belt back.
The strikers always at an advantage because you start standing and you start at range, Roddy said. The grappler always has to get around that and find his way into the clinch and its very, very difficult to do that without taking a big shot off Conor. Its just about setting traps and putting his opponent in positions where theyre vulnerable. Hes got phenomenal takedown defense. Youve seen that in some of his other fights. . . Hes no slouch there so were more than prepared to fight anybody.
UFCPI. UFC Performance Institute recommends fighters stay within 10 percent of weight class on fight night.
Missed Fists. Documenting the best non-major fights from the weekend.
Taking a look back at Bare Knuckle Boxing.