Yerevan
11 / December / 2019

UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov not looking for McGregor rematch

He's been to watch his local football club Anzhi Makhachkala play, he's called out boxing legend Floyd Mayweather and he's even fought a bear.

Following his explosive UFC 229 victory over Conor McGregor -- and even more explosive brawl afterwards -- Khabib Nurmagomedov has been a busy man.
Eleven months after he flew over the octagon's fence and jumped into a throng of people looking to fight McGregor's team, the Russian will make his long-awaited comeback following his nine-month suspension as he faces Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi on September 7 at UFC 242.
But due to the tempestuous end to their fight, rumors have been rife that a Nurmagomedov-McGregor rematch could be on the cards.
However, having successfully defended his UFC lightweight championship title against McGregor, Nurmagomedov isn't pushing for a rematch.
"He tapped. I make him tired and he tapped," he told Becky Anderson for CNN's Connect the World.
"And people understand his level, people understand my level. I do everything what I want. I stand up with him, I wrestled with him, I grappled with him, he tapped.
"I don't feel like I have to improve something inside the cage with him. And we have a lot of good contenders who deserve a title shot, and I'm going to fight with other opponents."

Respect
While McGregor is known for his hard-hitting, high-flying style in the octagon, it was his trash talking outside the ring that shot him to stardom.
And it's fair to say that after their war of words ahead of their Las Vegas fight, Nurmagomedov and McGregor aren't the best of friends.

While exchanging barbs is commonplace nowadays ahead of UFC fights, Nurmagomedov thought McGregor crossed a line with his insults, explaining his volatile reaction to winning in Las Vegas.
And although he acknowledges that trash talking is now part of the UFC, the undefeated fighter believes that by mentioning his family, religion and parents, McGregor caused him a "big disrespect."
"If people try to give me respect, I'm going to give them respect," the 30-year-old said. "If they go crazy with me, I'm going to go crazy with them.
"And UFC think I'm just a nice guy or something like this. I'm a nice guy to who's nice with me. If people [are] not nice with me, I'm not a nice guy."

Father figure
Not only do UFC coaches play a vital role in the preparation of their fighters ahead of bouts, but they also play an important part during the actual fight.
They offer tactical advice between each round to give their fighter the upper hand and hopefully, help them on the way to victory.

So, imagine training for weeks on end with your coach and then not being able to have them in your corner for the fight?
This is what Nurmagomedov has had to deal with at both UFC 209 and 229 as his father (who is also his coach) -- Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov -- was denied a visa to allow him into the US on both occasions.
But because UFC 242 is being held in Abu Dhabi -- as part of the UFC's five-year partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT Abu Dhabi) -- Abdulmanap will be in his son's corner for the first time in his UFC career, something that means a great deal to the UFC Lightweight Champion.
"And this is mean a lot for me, and for him too, because a lot of people see fighters, but they don't see coaches," he said.
"And I want people understand how great my father is. Because he has a lot of champions, world champions. And I'm very happy to have him in my corner."

Returning to the octagon
Following his ban and $500,000 fine for his clash with McGregor's team, no one was able to challenge Nurmagomedov for his UFC title.
Therefore, in the meantime, an interim UFC lightweight championship was created and won by Poirier at UFC 236 when he defeated Max Holloway.

But despite Poirier holding the interim championship belt and a 21-5-1 record, Nurmagomedov is certain the fight will be a one-sided affair.
"Khabib going to smash Dustin, inshallah. And that's it," the Dagestan fighter said confidently. "If people want to see how one athlete can smash another athlete.
"And I don't like the posters, they call us champ versus champ. This is not champ versus champ. I am the champ. He is interim champ. This is big difference.

"It's going to be a dogfight if I want. If I didn't want, I'm going to dominate him. And I don't people think I'm Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje, or Eddie Alvarez, or Max Holloway. I'm completely different fighter.
"And when I go to the cage, I all the time control my opponents. And it's like, dogfight is going to for him, not for me. Because I'm going to dominate."

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