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4 Jan, 2020 10:33

'He can run, but he cannot hide': Conor McGregor insists that Khabib Nurmagomedov rematch is inevitable

'He can run, but he cannot hide': Conor McGregor insists that Khabib Nurmagomedov rematch is inevitable

Ahead of his long-awaited return to the UFC cage this month, Conor McGregor still hasn't taken his crosshairs away from old foe Khabib Nurmagomedov and says that the Russian is "trembling" at the thought of a second fight.

The Irish fighter will take on experienced UFC veteran Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 in Las Vegas on January 18, with a win understood to be enough to guarantee McGregor a shot at the winner of April's clash between UFC champ Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. 

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McGregor and Nurmagomedov first fought in October 2018 in the culmination of a months-long feud between the two fighters which boiled over to bus attacks, arrests and post-fight brawls.

And if McGregor gets his way, that contentious night at UFC 229 won't be their last quarrel. 

"He is trembling," McGregor said of Khabib to his website The Mac Life.

"That man is trembling. He doesn’t want it. He doesn’t want it. You get it. He’s trying not to lose it again. I just smell sh*t. That’s all it is. He’s afraid, and that’s it.

"Everyone wants it. The boss wants it. [UFC President] Dana [White] wants it. We all want it. He can run, but he cannot hide. I look forward to it."

Reflecting on that first meeting, McGregor blamed what he now sees as incorrect preparation ahead of what was his most disappointing Octagon performance to date. His usual aggressive style of striking was absent, he said, but he still saw some positives in certain exchanges throughout the fight.

Nonetheless, McGregor embodies the "win or learn" mantra infused into his fighters by SBG Ireland head coach John Kavanagh – and, in this instance, he says he learned significant lessons.

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"That [loss] was after a horrendous camp where I was so disrespectful to the people that believe in me," he said.

"I was disrespectful to my team with my lack of commitment, and I still went out and done that."