Lobov says Nurmagomedov is only popular in Russia because of McGregor.
It would be very hard to say who would be the bigger draw in Russia between Khabib and Conor. I honestly feel that Khabib is as big as he is in Russia because of Conor McGregor. A lot of people in Russian aren’t happy with how Khabib has been behaving with all of his pullouts. This isn’t a very manly thing to do, not showing up for a fight. In Russia, the people have been brought up tough. It used to be the Soviet Union. The thing everybody thinks of when they think about Russia is how tough the people are. When they see a fighter continuously pulling out, that’s something that they really don’t like. Then they look at a guy like Conor who always shows up and does what he says he’s going to do. That really resonates with the Russian public.
Following the final press conference of the world tour in London, McGregor talks about fighting Nurmagomedov in Russia:
It’s certainly one of the things I would like to do. Whether it’s next, I don’t know. I don’t even know how close the Russia thing is. Whether Khabib can pull his shit together; he missed weight…There’s a few of them in the mix. A few of them need to pull their shit together, though, and get interest going and get me interested. Right now I don’t actually see anything.
On Nate Diaz:
That Diaz trilogy is also on my mind. He should really be thankful. Before he fought me he was [getting paid] 20,000 to show and 20,000 to win. His 19th fight in the UFC, and he was on 40 grand. Now he’s a multi-millionaire. So, I don’t know why he’s sitting there so bitter. Maybe them smacks he took in that rematch messed with his head a little bit. I hope not, but I think they did.
White says McGregor has told him that following the Mayweather fight, he wants to face Khabib Nurmagomedov — in Russia, which would make it the first UFC fight held there.
You know what Conor told me? ‘I want Khabib in Russia.’ Isn’t he f-cking awesome?…Conor McGregor is a f-cking unicorn. There’s nothing like him. He’s working on boxing Floyd Mayweather and then he’s talking about fighting Khabib in Russia right after…Those are the kind of things that make that kid a f-cking superstar. I’ve got guys telling me, ‘I don’t want to shit – I don’t want to fight this guy, and I don’t want to do this.’ [McGregor says], ‘I want Floyd Mayweather then I want f-cking Khabib in Russia.’ How do you not love him? How do you not love Conor McGregor? Amazing.
During an appearance on The MMA Hour, Attar says that if Diaz will not fight Ferguson, then he will likely fight Nurmagomedov in the fall
My assumption is that if Nate [Diaz] doesn’t sign on, it’s gonna be Khabib come this fall.
Nurmagomedov says he is completely responsible for not making weight at UFC 209, and that he still wants to fight Ferguson.
You know I don’t remember a lot of things, to be honest. Last night [before weigh in] and I know – I am going to a hospital, I feel bad. I know that a lot of fans are upset with me about this and I agree with this guys. Because this is one of the biggest fights in Russian MMA. for me, I can make history but I am going to the hospital you know. But sometimes this happens, sometimes you can die, you know. Everybody can die, everybody can [get] sick. Now I need a couple of months. Like two or three months. After three months I come for hard training and I want to fight in September. “I think this is my fault, this is my fault. I know that [my] body don’t listen to me and I think, I know, this is my fault. How can I say that this is the coach’s fault or the diet guy’s fault? This is 100% my fault. This is my dream fight – a fight with Tony Ferguson. I know I pulled out, but he pulled out one time, too. But nobody talked when he pulled out. When I pull out – everybody talks about this. But it’s ok. Inshallah (God willing) I will come back and we’ll see what happens.
Coach Mendez says Nurmagomedov may retire after his UFC 209 health issues, depending on the results of a physical in Germany.
Being that his father, like I said, is a huge influence on him and if that’s what him and his father decide to do then that’s what will happen. And I support it if that’s what they want. But you know, time will tell, right? I mean, he first has to get that title and I think that’s a very important thing in his life, and I would think if his body is not 100 percent healthy and his mind is the way it’s always been, like wanting to be the best, then it may be longer than 30 because of the fact that things like this happen – delays, injuries, he gets injured, his opponent gets injured. But I see it potentially happening if that’s what they wish.
On his Believe You Me podcast, Bisping says McGregor will not fight Nurmagomedov.
One million per cent, it kills his chances of ever fighting Conor and it puts the UFC in a very difficult position. If they make that rematch between Khabib and Tony, and Khabib wins, there is no way Conor is going to accept that because he is going to say, ‘I’m not going to take that risk of having an entire fight camp for him not to make it to the Octagon so I’m not going to do it’.
White says that despite Ferguson being paid his fight purse (“show” money) of $250,000 for UFC 209, according to Nevada State Athletic Commission records, he was emotionally crushed he couldn’t compete in what was the most significant and highest-profile fight of his career.
The thing is that he was devastated. He came over to our offices, and he was as bad as anybody I’ve ever seen when a fight pulls out.
White says he does not know what to do about Nurmagomedov next.
To be honest with you, Khabib fought [at UFC 205] in New York in November then here in this fight. Two back-to-back weight cuts like that. I don’t know if he can make the weight or if he needs to get a better plan or a dietician. Something. He got within six pounds and was in really rough shape. He’s going to have to take some time to recover from this weight cut, and then I don’t know what to do.
After Nurmagomedov pulls out of his fight with Ferguson, Cruz says Ferguson should fight McGregor.
We got to sit and wait and see what the UFC decides. The UFC are master matchmakers…It kind of messed up this card pretty good, because a lot of people were looking forward to it. So give ’em time to think about it. But I would says, looking from the outside in. You gotta kinda give the shot to Ferguson..You can’t hold Ferguson back because Khabib’s hurt.
White says that, despite several offers, there will be no replacement fight after Nurmagomedov dropped out of his fight against Ferguson. White says he did talk with White says he did speak with Michael Johnson — the last fighter to beat Ferguson — but ultimately cancelled the fight altogether.
The latest is I’m on suicide watch right now…The problem is that we’re one day away from the fight. it’s very hard. I respect the fact that so many people want to take the fight, but we’ll see what happens.
After Numagomedev’s doctor’s recommendation that the fighter not compete in UFC 209, the fight with Ferguson is cancelled. UFC statement:
UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov was transported to Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center Thursday evening due to weight management medical issues. He was treated and has been discharged, UFC officials confirmed. The scheduled interim lightweight championship bout between Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson at UFC 209 has been cancelled on the doctor’s recommendation. UFC 209 emanates from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Saturday night live on Pay-Per-View at 10pm/7pm ETPT. Tyron Woodley takes on Stephen Thompson with his welterweight championship on the line in a rematch from their 2016 Fight of the Year contender at UFC 205.
Nurmagomedov claims McGregor’s fight against Alvarez was fixed.
100 per cent I think [my UFC 209 fight with Tony Ferguson] is a real fight. I don’t care about him [McGregor], you guys know his Uncle Dana give him a gift. He jumped over all contenders and he fought for the title. I do not understand this fight [McGregor vs. Alvarez], he catch him a few times and he falls down—to me this is a fake fight…I no understand this fight you know—UFC give him this fight like seven, six weeks before the fight. He [McGregor] catches him a few times and he [Alvarez] falls down. I do not understand—a lot of people have a lot of questions about this fight.
Coach Kavanagh says he expects McGregor to fight the winner of the UFC 209 bout between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov.
I would love the challenge of it, for Conor to test himself in that area. I’ll be honest, right from the beginning I’ve been hearing ‘you can’t do this, you can’t do that’ … We’re kind of used to being told to what we can’t do, but we don’t pay too much attention to it, we just get on and make things happen. I’ve said it before, the Nate rematch interests me a lot because it’s one-one and how the styles match up. Almost on a par with that, not much difference, would be the winner of Khabib-Ferguson this weekend. I think Khabib does it, I think Khabib will be the winner, so I think Khabib will be the match-up out of that. I find it hard to imagine not seeing [McGregor back in MMA]. Even if and when the Mayweather fight was going to happen, and he got that out of the way. I know, like myself, I do believe his true love is free combat sports and there is no ‘free-er’ combat sport than mixed martial arts. I can’t imagine him not fighting the winner of [Khabib vs. Ferguson]. Now we gotta see what happens with the Mayweather talks and all that, but yeah, I do believe that will happen.
At the press conference for UFC 209, Ferguson taunts Nurmagomedov about his weight.
Have fun with that weight cut.
The Chive asks Nurmagomedov to guess the plot of popular romantic movies. When asked about When Harry Met Sally:
This is a movie about Dirty Harry? I don’t give a shit about this movie.
At his Q&A session ahead of UFC 209, Nurmagomedov criticises McGregor.
I don’t give a f-ck about Cono. I think about only belt. When I come to the UFC, I never thought about Conor ‘oh I want to fight with him, make money’ something like this. I think about only the belt. I think I beat Tony Ferguson, after Conor says he doesn’t want to defend his title because he never defends his title and I’ll fight with another tough contender…This chicken is no loyal guy. I know this. If you remember, the first time he fights in the UFC, after the fight he said ‘$50 G’s baby’ something like this, he asked to Dana please give me $50,000. He said give me $50,000. The UFC made him. If he never fought in the UFC, how he become like this? Now he has name, now he talk about he can fight without the UFC in boxing. For me this is disrespect to UFC. Now I think the UFC has to make plan. They have to put PR machine [behind me] This is true. UFC promote him all the time because the UFC has a very big PR machine. Now I think the UFC have to make plan. They have to promote me. Make fight like me versus him after I beat Tony Ferguson. I’m going to smash this guy. This is what I have to do for the UFC. This is how I see this situation. Because we have to make him humble.
Nurmagomedov’s coach comments on the situation that will arise if he beats Tony Ferguson in UFC 209. In that case, Nurmagomedov should fight McGregor, but if McGregor fights Mayweather, Nurmagomedov will be forced to sit on the sidelines for several months before being handed the opportunity to unify the interim and undisputed titles. Coach:
The way I look at it is when Khabib wins, not if Khabib wins, it’s a matter of what Khabib wants to do next. I don’t think Khabib will wait for Conor. Conor is going to do what Conor wants to do. Khabib isn’t going to wait around for Conor.
At a Q&A session at the National Restaurant in New York City. Nurmagomedov talks about his potential opponents, including McGregor.
I don’t give a shit about Conor. I think only about the belt…“Let’s go. Make not only him humble but all of Ireland.
During his interview at An Evening with.., in Manchester, McGregor dismisses any threat from Ferguson or Nurmagomedov.
Not a whisper about that one. But business is business. You’ve got to create [attention], because the two guys who are fighting for that interim belt are bums. I always look at the game, the fight game in the UFC, and sometimes I wonder to myself why it’s never broken through to that next level, why no one before me has ever gotten to that next level. Because they’re all dogshit. They’re sloppy, messy, chinny. It’s not pretty to look at, and it’s the same with these two clowns. Two bums fighting for an interim belt. They should be very happy that I’m chilling now, taking a break, and they have this little chance to think that they’re up there. But in reality, they’re nowhere close. They both would be knocked out stiff. Both chinny, both wild, too sloppy…F*ck them all. F*ck every one of them.
Nurmagomedov taunts McGregor.
Conor has to be careful because I’m going to smash Tony Ferguson and after I’m going to smash Conor McGregor. I think after this one, people will begin to forget about this guy. But now, everybody talks about him, but it’s okay. For me, it’s okay. I don’t care about him, I only want to fight for the title. This is what I want. I don’t care about conor or Floyd Mayweather. Floyd Mayweather is one of the greatest boxers, but I think I am the Floyd Mayweather of mma. I am 24-0, I can be 26-0 — 10-0 in the UFC — undefeated and undisputed UFC lightweight champion. I want to become the greatest lightweight ever. This is what I want.
Coach Mendez says that even if Nurmagomedov beats Tony Ferguson, McGregor may choose not to fight him.
You never know – Conor may decide that he wants to go to the welterweight division and challenge for that title. We’ve yet to see if Khabib wins against Tony, whether that fight will materialise. It’s gonna be what Conor wants. He’s in a position where he calls the shots. If Conor says, ‘I wanna fight Khabib’ – OK, fine. If Conor says, ‘I wanna fight Woodley or Thompson’ then that’s what’s gonna happen. Conor knows what he’s doing. He’s the boss so right now he’s in control…Ideally we would all like to see Conor and Khabib fight if Khabib gets by Tony. But that might not be in Conor’s plans.
As for McGregor’s skills:
Stylistically Tony is by far the tougher fighter. Conor poses a stand-up threat, poses no threat on the ground. Tony poses a threat everywhere. And for Conor, Tony poses a lot of dangers too. Tony is a very dangerous customer.
Nurmagomedov says that once he beats McGregor there will be no rematch, and he also says he will give McGregor a loan if he needs it.
After I finish [Ferguson], then Conor and after I finish Conor, UFC will maybe want to make rematch. But I say, ‘No, calm down. You have to stand in line.’ I came to the UFC to fight with top-level fighters and become the undisputed, undefeated champion. This is my goal. A lot of people fight with [McGregor] because of money. I can give him money if he needs money.
Nurmagomedov says McGregor is holding up the division, and that Ferguson is a stronger opponent.
Because he never defends his belts. He never [defended] his Cage Warriors belts, never defended his featherweight belt, and now UFC lightweight, I don’t think is different. But he has to defend. We’ll see. I don’t think about this too much. I think about Tony and March 4. This is the biggest fight in my life…I feel Tony’s tougher than Conor. Because if I take [Conor] down, fight finished. If I take down Tony, we have to fight. Take down Conor, what’s he going to do? His condition is very bad. His spirit, his heart is small. I think Tony’s tougher than Conor.
Ferguson says he’s frustrated by McGregor holding up the division.
It’s for an interim title. It should be for the real shit. Am I little pissed about it? Yeah. Is Conor going to defend his belt? Little shit. Probably not. He’s going to run. Go ahead. Go run. Go try to box so you can get your ass kicked, too, then when you’re ready to come back they’re going to strip your belt. At 155, I’m going to be holding that and you’re going to be like ‘oh I want my belt back’. I don’t give a f-ck. This is the real fight. The fight’s between Khabib and Ferguson. That’s the real deal fight…Honestly I could give two shits about it. He’s got his family, he’s got his things, he’s got his hands full. He’s a grown-ass man, he can handle his own shit. Same thing with me. I’m here to kick everybody’s ass in this division. I’m not going to excuse anybody of an ass whooping.
Danis comments on a potential fight between Nurmagomedov and McGregor, in the event that Nurmagomedov beats Tony Ferguson at UFC 209 in March.
[Khabib’s] too easily hit. If you saw in the Michael Johnson fight, he was getting like wobbled and rocked every time they were on the feet. So Conor is going to pick him apart like he does all the wrestlers. He hits you from everywhere and he kicks you in the stomach. And people don’t see those shots on TV, like some of those deep kicks and some of the kicks to the stomach, but those take the wind out of you. And when you basically have to take someone down, it puts a different kind of feeling in your stomach ad in your gut when you have to take the guy down. The guy’s beating you up on the feet, and when you go to the ground he’s elbowing you. So I think Conor puts him away in probably one or two rounds with strikes.
White announces that Ferguson will fight Nurmagomedov for the interim lightweight title at UFC 209 on March 4. At one point Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson seemed as if it was off the table, with Nurmagomedov claiming he was moving on from Ferguson who — according to White — was asking for too much money. It’s understood that Ferguson and the promotion came to a middle ground.
Nurmagomedov criticizes McGregor’s lifestyle.
Nurmagomedov says he doesn’t rate McGregor as a good overall fighter and he wins by taking fights that suit his style.
About athlete, about like phenomenal fighter, I don’t think [McGregor] is. He’s just a good boxer and he all the time takes fights, you know, like a good style (for him). Like Eddie Alvarez and Jose Aldo – like this.
Mirzaev, a Russian fighter with 17 wins out of 18 contests, is ambushed as he left his home in Moscow on New Year’s Eve. He is shot three times with a high-powered BB gun, including once in the face, in Moscow, as well as being beaten with a baseball bat and choked with a chain. Items were also stolen from his house. Mirzaev is in a stable condition after surgery to remove the bullets. According to a source, the argument got started when Mirzaev was in a club with Lobov, who trains with McGregor. The fighters were taunted by men from Dagestan in southern Russia who said McGregor was afraid to face undefeated Dagestani fighter Nurmagomedov. Nightclub staff stopped a full-blown brawl but the men “decided to finish the job” and were “waiting at his house”. However Lobov, denies the claims and the attack remains under police investigation:
I did meet [Mirzaev] in Russia. I am so shocked that this happened to him but [it’s] nothing to do with me.
Nurmagomedov says he wants to fight McGregor in Russia.
I want to beat Tony Ferguson, take interim bullshit belt, and after, fight with Conor for the real belt. I am famous in Russia and, we have to say, Conor is famous in Russia too. If UFC make a promotional tour all over the world, like Rio de Janeiro, Las Vegas, New York, Toronto, London, Moscow, Tokyo, everywhere, you know, make this PR programme…And, after this, UFC give me and Conor three months for preparing and make this 80,000 arena in Moscow – I think 100 per cent we can sell all these tickets. If I fight with Conor, I think the UFC makes this in New York or Vegas. Russia – not good for pay-per-view. Ireland – not good for pay-per-view.
Nurmagomedov says that if the UFC won’t pay enough, he will boost Ferguson’s purse with $200,000 of his own money.
Rogan says McGregor will fight Nurmagomedov next.
The UFC is about to go to Russia. They want to get in there. Conor McGregor versus Khabib Nurmagomedov, that’s what I think is up. Giant!
White says McGregor and Nurmagomedov could be the next lightweight fight. Currently, Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson are in discussions to fight for the interim lightweight title in McGregor’s absence, but nothing is official yet.
We’re focused very heavily on Russia right now. First of all, there’s tons of talent coming out of Russia, and a lot of fans. There’s a fighter named Khabib who’s from Russia, and he’s insanely popular. The next fight could be Conor vs. Khabib.
Mir, a former two-time UFC heavyweight champion, says that the Russian MMA market is different to the USA, to McGregor’s benefit.
In the US a lot of people are more interested in the story behind what’s going on rather than what the fight is. I just think they watch the fight to see the result at the end. It’s an afterthought more than it is a primary drive, whereas you go to other places, especially like Russia where fighting is actually a passion not necessarily just ‘who-hates-who’. That’s why Conor McGregor does so well. He’s a good fighter but let’s face it: if Khabib [Nurmagomedov] and him face off, I wouldn’t bet on Conor to last even past a round. But he makes more money than Khabib because he has such a great mouth…Khabib has stayed true to his character, he’s a softly-spoken guy and I think he does all his talking with his fists and he’s not getting title shots and he’s not getting talked about in the US media as much. A guy who is 24-0, amongst the fighters we know he’s probably the best guy really in the world at lightweight. I don’t think anybody questions his ability to destroy guys and how powerful he is. But ESPN isn’t knocking his door down to give him interviews and he’s not doing commercials, Conor is…Conor’s making millions of dollars fighting and so I think Khabib now sees that and realizes he needs to start talking more. And here, he goes out and destroys Michael Johnson in his last fight [and] made him look like he shouldn’t even be in the top ten.
With Tony Ferguson appearing to drop out of UFC 209, Anna Jane Kesington reports that the interim title fight with Nurmagomedov has been offered to Diaz.
Nate Diaz has been offered an interim title fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 209. The fight was originally offered to Tony Ferguson, but he was asking for too much money.
According to reports, Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson’s interim-UFC lightweight title bout is “90%” complete.
Ferguson dismisses McGregor’s achievements,
This guy’s picking his opponents. He’s a paper champ. When you’re doing that, of course you’re going to be watching who you’re fighting…I can’t really see Conor as the champion. I see right now as if the title was open. Conor’s taking a step off and I don’t even like to throw his name in because the dude fought one person at 155.
And says he wants to fight Nurmagomedov.
I’ve been sitting here and Khabib, he’s been kind of inactive. I’ve been the most active in this damn place… I’m racking up points here, that’s all that matters. I’m gonna go down in the books as a living legend. That’s what’s gonna happen, I’m gonna be in the UFC Hall of Fame…I’m ready to sign on the dotted line and I think the UFC knows that. And I think it needs to be for that belt. I don’t think, it needs to be for that belt, damn it. Straight up, I’ve been putting in my time, I’ve been putting in my numbers. This is my time. Let’s get some heat going for this thing. Let’s do this for The Ultimate Fighter. We can do Team Khabib versus Team Ferguson, that’d be dope.
Despite his next bout being more likely to be with Tony Ferguson for an interim title, Nurmagomedov releases a mock up of a poster for a fight with McGregor in Russia. Asked whether he will fight Tony Ferguson in his next bout:
100%. There are already negotiations, 90 % sure it will happen. Why? Because Conor is pregnant, he has to give birth, and then recover until summer. I can’t wait until summer, I have missed out on 2 years of my career, I don’t want to miss out long periods of time again.
Edgar’s coach says McGregor still has to get past Edgar and Nurmagomedov to be considered the greatest fighter of all time. Henry:
I’d say he’d be the greatest if he beat Frankie and Khabib. Then I’d put him as the greatest. But until he does that, I still think he’s one of the greats…He’s never defended the featherweight title. He says he’s cleaned out the division, but until you fight Frankie, you haven’t cleaned it out. If he fought Frankie he’d be able to say that as he’s already fought Holloway, he’s already fought Aldo and he’s already fought Mendes. But he’s never fought Frankie. I think Frankie has been a staple as one of the best fighters ever. And he’s definitely a staple at 145lbs. It doesn’t matter that he beat Aldo and Frankie didn’t because you could say, ‘whoever beat Nate Diaz can beat McGregor’ and that’s not true. That’s just stupid even saying that.
Nurmagomedov says a fight with McGregor is not about the money.
I care only about belt. I have a lot of money…I want to take him down, speak with him, slap him, make him nervous … like, ‘Hey, get up! Let’s go! Where is your boxing?’ … play with him and make him give up. This is what I want. But I don’t want to finish him 1st round, 2nd round, 3rd round … I want to fight with him for 25 minutes like five rounds and I want to make him look very bad. And finish his hype.
He also talks about his run in with McGregor backstage at UFC 205.
When I finish my weigh in I meet him. He watch me I ask him, ‘why you watch?’. I tell him ‘I am not Eddie Alvarez or Tyron Woodley’. If somebody watch me like crazy I can go crazy too.
Nurmagomedov posts a private message he sent to McGregor.
Conor you the Champion now you need to fight with me. If you run every time you look in the mirror you not going to respect yourself, your kids not going to respect you, your friends, your family won’t respect you. Die like a Samurai don’t chicken out please. I know I’m bad matchup for you but you the champion and you need to fight the best. It’s ok. Die like Irish warrior don’t run like chicken. Irish people have history and fight for long time you need to represent your people with honor.
McGregor’s striking coach says he would like to see him fight for a third belt, preferring Woodley or Diaz over Nurmagomedov. Roddy:
Maybe [Tyron] Woodley,. For me, for him to go up and compete for a third belt [welterweight], maybe Woodley. [Nate] Diaz again is another great one. I think it’s what fans would want to see. They want to see something special again, the Diaz fight again is special. The Woodley fight is special…You can’t really doubt Khabib at this stage. He’s a phenomenal grappler and a phenomenal wrestler. But I don’t know whether the excitement is there, you know? Obviously for Conor it’s about the pay-per-views. It’s about the money. Whether Khabib will hit the pay-per-views for him I just don’t know…He poses a different threat so it would be good to sort of work out what strikes are going to land on him. He can be hit as well, I will say that. He got hit a bit in his last fight.
Henderson says that after watching Nurmagomedov fight at UFC 205, he would beat McGregor:
I think that kid that fought last weekend, I have trouble with his name, Magomedov, the Russian kid, that’s at 155 — I think he would definitely give Conor a huge problem. I think he definitely would take him down and beat the piss out of him…I don’t dislike him [McGregor]. I think it took me a while to kinda get onboard with him, just to see a little bit more well-roundedness. He’s always shown that he’s got good hands, good kicks, but to see him against a couple different wrestlers that had good hands, it took me awhile to get onboard with him. I think Eddie just did not fight a smart fight whatsoever. He didn’t use his wrestling whatsoever.
Lee says he didn’t realise that McGregor was in the stadium when he won.
If I knew Conor McGregor was sitting front row, I would have jumped the cage – damn…All Irish guys look alike. I wish I would have known. Somebody could have told me. They’re all just red beards and bald heads to me.
He also says that, as a wrestler, he has the skills to beat McGregor, and can beat Nurmagomedov:
[McGregor]’s the champ of this division now. I said it a while ago – I’ll be the champ. He’s 28. I’m 24. He ain’t got nothing on me but some years…I think after his last fight, he said you’ve got to have some height, some reach, some weight – I’m 195 pounds outside of fighting – 77-inch reach, 5-10, a hell of a wrestler, so this fight was about showcasing that I’m the best wrestler in this division…Everybody thinks that Khabib is the best wrestler, but this is good old-fashioned American wrestling…This ain’t that sambo shit. If you want to go out there, me and Khabib, no punches thrown, I’ll (technical fall) him, 15-0. I’ll keep taking him down, and he won’t do a damn thing about it.
Nurmagomedov’s trainer Mendez says McGregor is avoiding his fighter:
Yes, 100 percent, he is ducking Khabib. I know that from the words he is saying. ‘He doesn’t fight enough for my taste’? Give me a break. You can say, ‘Hey, I want to fight Nate Diaz a third time.’ Fine. Say that. But don’t try to put my guy down because you are trying to avoid him. Don’t belittle my guy. That’s bullshit…When [McGregor] fought Chad Mendes, I thought it proved he wasn’t ducking anybody. But now he’s doing this and I’m thinking he’s trying to avoid Khabib. I think Khabib, [lightweight contenders] Nate Diaz and Tony Ferguson all give Conor a hell of a fight—but the guy who gives him the worst time, by far, is Khabib. He’s the strongest grappler in the division.
In a trailer for The Thrill and the Agony, Nurmagomedov tells Johnson to give up while he is giving him a beating:
You have to give up. I need to fight for the title. You know this. I deserve it
Then he trash talks McGregor to White between rounds.
KH: Hey, be careful. I’m gonna smash your boy.
DW: Just get through this first
Nurmagomedov tells White he will leave the UFC is he does not get a title shot.
Nurmagomedov says he was calling White between rounds to talk about a potential McGregor fight.
I talk to Dana in between rounds. I said, ‘Hey, don’t send me no more of your fake contracts, I need real contracts. ‘ So he said, ‘Hey, you have to finish this fight.’ I told him, ‘You already know I deserve this. After this fight, you need to send me a real contract.’ And then he told me to go finish it. After I finished fight I told him I’m waiting for agreement; maybe in Brooklyn, UFC 209, why not? February, UFC 210 in Las Vegas. Anywhere, it doesn’t matter. Russia, Ireland, I can fight in his backyard, anywhere. I know all of you know I deserve this.