'He’s like a blown-up balloon!' Khabib manager mocks McGregor over claims Irishman is in 'shape of his life' ahead of comeback
Declarations from Conor McGregor’s camp that the Irishman is in the shape of his life ahead of his UFC comeback against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone have been dismissed by the manager of lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov.
McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh recently said the former two-weight UFC champion is “the best I’ve seen him” as he gears up to face Cerrone in their welterweight main event at UFC 246 in Las Vegas on January 18.
Photos of a bulked-up McGregor shared on social media have also got fans talking about what kind of shape ‘The Notorious’ will be in as he steps into the Octagon for the first time since being defeated by lightweight king Khabib in Vegas 15 months ago.
But Khabib’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, is distinctly unimpressed by McGregor’s physique.
“He looks like a blown-up balloon, he’s a bodybuilder, that’s what I think he looks like… He gets no love from us,” Abdelaziz scoffed, per TMZ.
McGregor himself recently said a rematch with Khabib was inevitable, warning the Russian not to run from him.
The Dubliner, 31, also blamed a poor camp leading into his fight for the loss against Khabib.Also on rt.com 'He can run, but he cannot hide': Conor McGregor insists that Khabib Nurmagomedov rematch is inevitable
Abdelaziz dismissed that notion as merely making excuses: “Listen, his coaches before the fight (against Nurmagomedov) said, ‘He’s ready, he’s going to knock Khabib out inside three rounds, he’s never been in better shape.
"And after that, they said they had a horrible camp, his foot was like a balloon. They’re liars."
Despite claims by UFC chief Dana White that a win against Cerrone would earn McGregor another crack at Khabib, Abdelaziz said he was “not even on their radar” while also suggesting that he fancied UFC veteran Cerrone to best the Irishman when they throw down in just under two weeks’ time.Also on rt.com ‘I decide who I fight’: Khabib slaps down Dana White over claims McGregor will earn rematch if he wins on UFC comeback (VIDEO)
Looking to his own fighter, Abdelaziz said lightweight contender Justin Gaethje – another man under his management – would be in the frame to face Khabib, assuming the Russian defeats Tony Ferguson in their eagerly-awaited lightweight title bout in Brooklyn, New York, in April.
“Gaethje… he’s been knocking people out,” Abdelaziz said. “Logically he is [the next challenger to Khabib], he’s the number three.
“Khabib fought the number two, Dustin Poirier, for the title. That’s the only fight that makes sense for him [Gaethje], for his career.”
He also suggested the UFC had handed McGregor an easier return than they could have by pitting him against Cerrone rather than Gaethje.
“Conor doesn’t want anything to do with Gaethje… Conor’s a quitter. The UFC made the right choice for Conor not to fight Gaethje, because he would beat his ass, simple.”