'This fight should happen': Dana White expects to see Khabib v McGregor rematch in 2019
Khabib Nurmagomedov will meet Conor McGregor in a colossal rematch in 2019. That's the message from UFC president Dana White, who appears confident the MMA lightweight rivals will face off for a second time in the next 12 months.
White spoke to TMZ Sports about the mooted rematch between the pair and said that although there are a number of issues to be resolved, the two European superstars could be set to meet again at some point later this year.Also on rt.com Massive post-fight brawl mars Khabib win over McGregor at UFC 229
White previously suggested the pair could face other opponents in their respective comeback fights, with McGregor linked with a rematch against surging lightweight contender Dustin Poirier, and Nurmagomedov finally having his long-awaited - and oft-cancelled - matchup against former interim champion Tony Ferguson.
There's also the potential arrival in the lightweight division of all-conquering UFC featherweight world champion Max Holloway, who White also wants to see move up to the 155lb class.
But White says the biggest fight in the division remains Nurmagomedov vs McGregor II, and he says there's a strong chance we'll see it later this year.
"I think a lot of people want to see that fight," he said.
"Again, we still haven't gone before the Nevada State Athletic Commission. That's gotta happen, and when that does, we can figure out how this whole thing plays out.
"Is Max [Holloway] moving to '55? Tony Ferguson [is] obviously in the mix. So we've got to see how this thing plays out.
"Obviously guys are gonna have to win. It depends on how long the suspensions are and things like that. But as long as everything goes right, this fight should happen."
Nurmagomedov and McGregor finally fought in Las Vegas at UFC 229 after a tumultuous build-up that saw McGregor hauled before a New York City judge on charges after attacking a UFC bus containing Nurmagomedov and a host of other fighters at UFC 223 media day in Brooklyn.
That clash - and the simmering rivalry between the two teams that resulted from incidents that took place that week - formed the backdrop of the most ill-tempered build-up to a world title fight in UFC history.
When the action finally got underway in the octagon, it was Nurmagomedov who dominated, as he shut down McGregor with his grappling game and even dropped the former two-division world champion with a big overhand right in the third round.
Eventually, Nurmagomedov forced McGregor to submit in the fourth round to cap a comprehensive victory, only to then hurdle the cage to attack McGregor's teammate Dillon Danis at octagonside as a mini-riot broke out at the T-Mobile Arena.
Both Nurmagomedov and McGregor will face the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which is expected to hand down fines and suspensions to both men.
But once the pair are both cleared to compete again, White is hopeful arrangements can be made for the pair to face each other in the octagon once more.
And it's a bout that McGregor is certainly keen to run back after his comprehensive loss in their first meeting.
View this post on Instagram
Thoughts on my last fight. Round 1. I believe from a sport standpoint, round 1 was his. Top position against the fence. Zero position advancement or damage inflicted. But top position. From a fight standpoint the first round is mine. Actual shots landed and a willingness to engage. Straight left early. Knee to the head on the low shot. Elbows in any and all tie up scenarios. Opponent just holding the legs against the fence for almost the entire round. Round 2 he is running away around the cage before being blessed with a right hand that changed the course of the round, and the fight. It was a nice shot. After the shot I bounced back up to engage instantly, but again he dipped under to disengage. That is the sport and it was a smart move that led to a dominant round, so no issue. Well played. If I stay switched on and give his stand up even a little more respect, that right hand never gets close and we are talking completely different now. I gave his upright fighting no respect in preparation. No specific stand up spars whatsoever. Attacking grapplers/wrestlers only. That won’t happen again. I also gave my attacking grappling no respect. To defense minded. Lessons. Listen to nobody but yourself on your skill set. You are the master of your own universe. I am the master of this. I must take my own advice. Round 3. After the worst round of my fighting career, I come back and win this round. Again walking forward, walking him down, and willing to engage. Round 4. My recovery was not where it could have been here. That is my fault. Although winning the early exchanges in 4, he dips under again and I end up in a bad position with over 3 on the clock. I work to regain position and end up upright, with my back to the fence. A stable position. Here however, I made a critical error of abandoning my over hook at this crucial time, exposing the back, and I end up beaten fair and square. What can I say? It was a great fight and it was my pleasure. I will be back with my confidence high. Fully prepared. If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line. It’s all me always, anyway. See you soon my fighting fans I love you all ❤
The Dubliner promised to return "with my confidence high."
"If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line," he said.
"It’s all me always, anyway. See you soon, my fighting fans, I love you all."