After the main event of UFC 229 – not to mention the melee that took place afterwards – it is safe to say that UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor aren’t exactly on speaking terms. But according to Nurmagomedov, that doesn’t mean their relationship can’t improve in the future.
During a Monday news conference in Moscow in which Khabib announced a sponsorship with Gorilla Energy Drinks, the champion said that anything was possible when it came to McGregor as the two men go forward with their UFC careers.
Khabib: Forgiveness Still Possible
Nurmagomedov (27-0) defeated McGregor (21-4) by fourth round submission to solidify his hold on the UFC lightweight title. Afterwards, Nurmagomedov jumped over the Octagon and into the crowd to attack one of McGregor’s coaches, while other members of the Dagestani fighter’s team attacked McGregor in the cage.
That came after weeks of heightening tensions, including a war of words that saw McGregor insult Nurmagomedov’s Muslim heritage. But despite all that history, Khabib says that it could still be water under the bridge.
“Just as McGregor and I feuded, so we could reconcile,” Nurmagomedov said. “Who are we not to forgive one another when the Almighty forgives us?”
During the press conference, Khabib also addressed his wishes for his next fight. While the UFC would probably like to see the champion take on Tony Ferguson, Nurmagomedov has publically said he’d like to fight Floyd Mayweather in a battle of undefeated champions, with such a bout likely taking place in the boxing ring.
“For legacy and in the sense of the money aspect, and in a sporting sense, I think the Mayweather fight is much more interesting,” he said.
Those comments didn’t sit well with Ferguson, the No. 1 UFC lightweight contender. After hearing of Nurmagomedov’s preference, the American took to Twitter to call out the champion, saying “you couldn’t box your way out of a paper bag.”
Tried To Be Nice But You’re Still My Bitch @TeamKhabib Check It Out… You Couldn’t Box Your Way Out Of A Paper Bag. I See You & The Team Working On That Footwork. Running From A Much Needed Ass Whoopin’. Keep Swimmin’ Shrimp,The Fans Like Me Better 💯🕴I’m The Champ Chump 🇺🇸🏆🇲🇽 pic.twitter.com/mdKdqF30cU
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) November 27, 2018
Nevada Ruling Could Shape Nurmagomedov’s Future
UFC president Dana White has made it clear that he’s not interested in seeing another of his popular lightweight stars face off against Mayweather. A rematch with McGregor is also a possibility for Khabib, as it would certainly make for another big payday, even if it may not be all that compelling as a sporting event after Nurmagomedov’s domination of the first fight.
In a Monday interview with ESPN, White said that any decision on what to do with Khabib and McGregor will have to wait until after Nevada regulators have their final say on discipline that will be handed down for the events that took place at UFC 229.
“I don’t know if the immediate rematch happens because we got to see what the Nevada State Athletic Commission hands down in December,” White told ESPN. “So I’m not even thinking about that, I’m thinking about possibilities in the future but, right now, not even worth thinking about until we find out what happens in Nevada.”