'It will plague him for the rest of his life': Sly Stallone on McGregor's defeat to Khabib (VIDEO)
Khabib defeated the Irish former two-division UFC champion last October in the culmination of one of the most bitter feuds in the promotion's history, submitting McGregor in the fourth round in what was the most-watched mixed martial arts contest in history.
The manner of the defeat, though, and the fight's one-sided nature is something which could deeply affect McGregor, according to a man who knows a thing or two about the psychological element of prizefighting, Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone.
The 'Rocky' actor, who purchased a minority stake in the UFC in 2016, says that McGregor must seek out the challenge of Khabib once more if he is to fully move on from his loss.
"I think he should get inspired by all this," Stallone said of McGregor to TMZ. "'I've been going through a very rough time, I've been somewhat publicly humiliated and I'm at a crossroads in my life. I have to do something, I have to overcome my fear. I have to overcome the incredible opponent who seems invulnerable,'" he said of the Irishman's mindset.
"This is a crossroads in his life. This is probably the most important one, because if he doesn't live up to his ideal, if he can't overcome his fear to beat this mean it will plague him for the rest of his life. Beat him, or at least go down with everything he's got."
The challenge is a considerable one. Nurmagomedov is undefeated through 27 professional MMA fights (11-0 UFC) and hasn't displayed many frailties throughout his impressive run in the organization.
McGregor, however, has been a transformative star for the UFC and enjoyed his own spell of dominance until he was shut down by Nurmagomedov in Las Vegas last October.
A rematch between the two would be a major box office bonanza for all parties but would McGregor be able to reverse the result at the second time of asking?
"Yeah," Stallone says. "I think he lost last time because he got resentful, he got prideful, he got arrogant. He put his hands down... and walked right up to that gentleman and just got smashed in the face when he could have been defensive. There was no 'plan B.'
"This is what really defines greatness. He was dominating many, many people and he showed how special he is but then he met his match. So now you have two UFC gods, if you want to call them [that], going at one another. Win or lose, it's how you lose.
"I want to see a rematch. I want to see a guy that leaves everything on the table."
McGregor's suspension for the post-fight brawl following his defeat to Khabib is due to expire next month, while Khabib's perceived role as the instigator of the incident means that he was handed a longer suspension and is expected to return after the summer.Also on rt.com Big hitters: Khabib Nurmagomedov listed among the world's most famous sports stars in new ESPN list