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19 Oct, 2019 11:34

‘Conor McGregor isn’t the man anymore, Khabib is’ – UFC boss Dana White

‘Conor McGregor isn’t the man anymore, Khabib is’ – UFC boss Dana White

UFC boss Dana White says Russian lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov “gets to sit back and call the shots” when it comes to potential match-ups, meaning former promotion golden boy Conor McGregor must take a backseat.

While Irish former two-weight world champion McGregor continues to enjoy substantial exposure due to his undoubted legacy in the sport – as well as myriad business ventures – he has not stepped into the octagon since being comprehensively defeated by Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in Las Vegas last October.

READ MORE: One year on from UFC 229, are Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov destined to fight one more time?

The undefeated Dagestani has since defended his title against interim champ Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi, and is next widely tipped to face long-time rival and number one contender Tony Ferguson – himself on a 12-fight win streak – in either March or April of next year.

Also on rt.com UFC chief Dana White gives update on Khabib v Ferguson fight as lightweight champ ‘prepares for war’

And despite McGregor angling for a rematch on numerous occasions, promotion boss White said the Russian holds all the cards at present.

“Khabib is the man now,” White told the Boston Globe ahead of the UFC event in the city at TD Garden on Friday night. “Conor isn’t the man anymore, so Khabib gets to sit back and call the shots.”

McGregor has recently talked up a potential bout with featherweight Frankie Edgar, possibly in December, although in separate comments White has stymied any notion of that bout happening.

'March or April in New York': UFC insider suggests Khabib’s planned Russia homecoming for Ferguson bout may not happen (VIDEO)

Instead, he told the Globe that other fights made sense for the Notorious.    

“Next month at Madison Square Garden, we’ve got [Nate] Diaz vs [Jorge] Masvidal, sold out.

“So whoever wins that fight could fight McGregor. We’ve got ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, we’ve got Justin Gaethje, but what Conor wants right now really is the Khabib rematch. So we’ll see how that whole thing plays out.

“But if you’re Khabib, you got the Tony Ferguson fight, George St. Pierre wants to fight, and you’ve got the Conor McGregor fight.”

Speaking in Russia earlier this month, Nurmagomedov signaled he would be willing to face McGregor again, if only for financial reasons, but insisted that the Irishman would have to "get in line" on making his return to the octagon.

Also on rt.com 'Stop hitting old people and get in line': Khabib tells Conor McGregor what he needs to do to earn rematch (VIDEO)