UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov believes his ugly rivalry with Conor McGregor will “never be finished.”
However, Nurmagomedov says he has no interest now in a second fight.
In an exclusive interview with ESPN, Nurmagomedov (27-0), who defended his lightweight title against McGregor (21-3) via fourth-round submission last October, said he would fight McGregor in the street if they crossed paths, but he will not grant him an immediate rematch as long as he holds the belt.
“Even [the October fight] did not finish it,” Nurmagomedov said. “Just smash people is not enough. I talk about just smash only him? It’s not enough. We have to smash all his team. This is what I think before the fight. This is what I say to my team. ‘Hey, tonight, we’re going to war. This is not about fight.’
“It will never be finished. Ever. Even if we see [each other] somewhere, we’re going to fight, 100 percent. It doesn’t matter if someone go to jail or something like this. I’m not scared about this … They go to hospital and we go to police. That’s it.”
Nurmagomedov, of Dagestan, is scheduled to defend his title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi. It will mark his first appearance since he jumped out of the Octagon after beating McGregor to confront members of his team. Nurmagomedov said he did so because McGregor insulted his family and country in the buildup to the fight.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Nurmagomedov nine months and fined him $500,000 for his post-fight actions. In April, the rivalry made headlines again, when McGregor posted, and deleted, two offensive messages aimed at Nurmagomedov’s wife. Nurmagomedov responded by calling McGregor a “rapist.”
McGregor, of Dublin, has expressed interest in an immediate rematch. A second fight between Nurmagomedov and McGregor would be an extremely lucrative event, but Nurmagomedov says he will not allow it to happen without McGregor winning a fight. The 155-pound champion has clearly stated he would like to face Tony Ferguson next, should he defeat Poirier on Saturday.
“This guy [McGregor] have to come back and make 9 or 10-fight win streak. Then we gonna fight,” Nurmagomedov said. “Maybe people who watch this interview, they think, ‘Oh, he think about this but when UFC ask this guy to fight Conor for millions of dollars, this guy is gonna take it.’ No. Fight. Come back and show, who are you.
“Dana [White] no need to call me. Why he have to call me about this fight? We talk with Dana sometimes, he’s a good guy, but don’t talk with me about this crazy fight. I want to fight real guys — Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, maybe if one of the greatest athletes ever, Georges St-Pierre, wants to fight. I want to fight those guys. I don’t want to fight with a guy who never win.”