Conor McGregor could be granted his wish of a rematch against UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov if the Irishman beats Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in his January comeback, according to UFC boss Dana White.
McGregor returns to the octagon to face Cerrone on January 18 at UFC 246 in Las Vegas.
It will be the first outing for ‘The Notorious’ since he was beaten via fourth-round submission by Khabib in the same city in October of 2018.
The Russian, meanwhile, faces Tony Ferguson in a long-awaited showdown on April 18, most likely at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Provided both McGregor and Khabib come through to win those bouts, UFC boss White says they would meet again “pretty soon.”
“If Conor can get through Cowboy and if Khabib can get through Tony, then we would be looking at a rematch with Conor and Khabib down the line here pretty soon,” White told BT Sport during the build-up to UFC 245 in Las Vegas this weekend.
While White is clearly pushing for a re-run of the toxic 2018 showdown between the pair, Khabib in particular may have other ideas.
He has previously said McGregor would have to win “10 fights in a row” in order to be given a second shot at the title, although he has admitted a rematch would make financial sense.Also on rt.com 'Conor's an idiot, we don't listen to idiots': Khabib reacts to McGregor's Moscow callout
McGregor would be much keener, although when initially laying out his plans for a 2020 return he said a fight against the winner of the ‘BMF’ match-up between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz – which we now know to be Masvidal – would be the second of the three bouts, with Khabib closing out his triple-fight ‘season’.
Some MMA fans may also be left frustrated at White’s clear inclination toward a rematch, given that many see worthier contenders out there for a shot at UFC lightweight gold – not least Justin Gaethje, who beat Cerrone via first-round TKO in September.
But money often talks loudest, and the most lucrative bout would certainly be Khabib vs McGregor II.
The temptation might prove too strong to resist for all concerned.