‘I decide who I fight’: Khabib slaps down Dana White over claims McGregor will earn rematch if he wins on UFC comeback (VIDEO)
McGregor returns to face Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in the welterweight main event at UFC 246 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on January 18 – the first octagon outing for The Notorious since he lost to Khabib at the same venue in October 2018.
Khabib is booked to defend his lightweight title in a long-awaited match-up with Tony Ferguson in New York in April.
Assuming the Russian wins that fight and McGregor beats Cerrone, UFC chief White recently said a rematch between the pair would happen “pretty soon.”
Khabib, however, clearly has little time for any such talk, dismissing McGregor versus Cerrone as a “second-rate” fight.
“I think Cerrone lost seven or eight of his last 10 fights, the other guy [McGregor] is going into his fourth year without a victory. It's the minor leagues, it doesn't matter who wins,” Khabib said in Russian at a press conference in the city of Krasnodar in his homeland.
“It surprises me when Dana White says that if Conor wins and I beat Ferguson, there will be a rematch.
"I decide who I fight next.
“In order to face me again, first of all [McGregor] needs to drop to 70kg [155lbs], and then win 10 fights in a row, just like I did. Then we can think about a rematch.
“For now, let him beat second-rate fighters,” Khabib added.
That could put the undefeated Dagestani on collision course with the UFC hierarchy, with White reiterating on Thursday that McGregor deserves a shot at the lightweight title, should he beat Cerrone.
“Come on guys, look what Conor’s done over the last however many years,” White said.
“Then he loses to Khabib in a fight that was – when you talk about bad blood – it’s like the next level of bad blood.
“[Justin] Gaethje was on his way up, too. We’ve offered Gaethje a lot of fights that Gaethje hasn’t taken, either. So Conor’s in line next for [a title] fight if he beats Cowboy.”
Of course, all of this is hypothetical at present as both Khabib and McGregor need to come through their respective bouts before even contemplating a rematch.
But one thing’s for sure: Khabib is not down for running it back with his Irish nemesis any time in the near future.Also on rt.com 'I don't understand what is inside his head': Khabib Nurmagomedov talks Tony Ferguson showdown (VIDEO)