It may be more than a year since Conor McGregor stepped into the octagon with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, but their rivalry is far from over.
McGregor, who is set to make his UFC return later this month, is more than willing to set up a rematch with Nurmagomedov.
Yet Nurmagomedov, McGregor said Friday in an interview with TheMacLife.com, is scared.
“[Nurmagomedov] is trembling,” McGregor said, via TheMacLife. “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 s--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.”
Nurmagomedov, who boasts a perfect 28-0 MMA record, beat McGregor in the fourth round at UFC 229 in October 2018 at T-Mobile Arena. That iconic fight was amplified, too, when it quickly sprawled outside of the octagon into a wild post-fight bout.
While Nurmagomedov got the win, McGregor still believes he was winning most of the fight. However one of the biggest reasons for his downfall, he said, falls solely on him.
"That [loss] was after a horrendous camp where I was so disrespectful to the people that believe in me," McGregor said, via TheMacLife. "I was disrespectful to my team with my lack of commitment, and I still went out and done that.”
McGregor ready for Donald Cerrone
McGregor is hopping back into the cage on Jan. 18, where he’ll square off against Donald Cerrone in a welterweight fight at UFC 246 — a division in which he’s competed just twice before in his career.
He hasn’t fought since his bout with Nurmagomedov, and hasn’t won since he beat Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in 2016, either.
A win against Cerrone could open doors for McGregor, who sounds committed to making a comeback and reminding people “about my skill base.” He’s finally committed now, he said, a place he hasn’t been in for quite some time.
And he’s more than ready to kick off his year on a high note.
“I am back. I am back to who I am,” McGregor said, via TheMacLife. “I look forward to going in and showcasing it on January 18. And whoever is after that, again it does not matter. I’ll be ready. This is the beginning of my 2020 season.”
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