'There must be a rematch': Conor McGregor makes case for second bout with Khabib (VIDEO)
It was arguably the most anticipated fight of 2018 and, if McGregor gets his way, it will happen all over again sometime soon. The Irish former double champ gave an impromptu Q&A session to his fans while on his recent trip to the United States for St. Patrick's Day and gave his view of how the first meeting with Khabib in the octagon –as well as the incidents which occurred afterwards– went down. As well as offering some insight into what he considered a below-par performance from himself.
"He’s a formidable opponent, wrestled bears since he was a kid," McGregor said, complimenting his Russian rival.
"He’s put a lot of time in his standup work and it was a lot sharper than I anticipated it was going to be. I’ve got to respect that, it was his big moment. It’s easy to do this once, it’s very easy for someone to be given something and to do it just one time. It’s like you put your absolute all into it.
"If you do it time after time and year after year, that’s when the motivation kind of dips, that’s when the dedication kind of lacks, and that’s when people creep up," McGregor announced, as noted by BJPenn.com.
"That’s what I feel has happened here, I didn’t give him his respect, I marched forward, I didn’t give a s**t, I got caught with that overhand. If I switched on, I would not get caught with that overhand in any form of combat. I’m very confident, very eager, very in shape, let’s keep it going."
Despite his conciliatory tone, McGregor did reserve some judgment for Khabib's performance, implying that he doesn't possess the necessary instincts to strike when he smells blood in the water.
McGregor referenced the power punch Khabib landed in the second round which sent the Irishman to one knee, saying Khabib should have looked to finish in that moment rather than rushing for a takedown.
"Imagine almost dropping someone cause he almost got me, but he didn’t drop me. I got to my feet, threw shots, threw a knee, and he shot for a takedown. Imagine almost dropping someone with a picture-perfect shot, a picture-perfect punch, and then shooting for the legs. You almost got the fight done and you shoot for the legs, stand up and fight."Also on rt.com Conor McGregor still wants Khabib rematch, says teammate Artem Lobov (VIDEO)
Of course, questions soon came in regarding the post-fight brawl for which both fighters are still suspended. McGregor's suspension is due to end next month and, while Nurmagomedov's sanction was more stringent given his role in inciting the incident, the Dubliner says that the 'dispute' which has arisen as a result of these actions mean that a rematch must be inevitable.
"When there’s dispute, there must be a rematch. There was dispute in my last one, I slapped his brother and his cousin on top of the cage, he [Nurmagomedov] tried to jump out and run. This is not over, so there’s dispute, there has to be a rematch."