Khabib Calls McGregor Fake Contender, Says Ferguson Is Real Contender
Despite having the toughest fight of his career coming up, in Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, Khabib Nurmagomedov continues to be asked about fighting Conor McGregor again. The man he beat in convincing fashion at UFC 229.
Speaking to TMZ Sports however, Khabib was quick to remind everyone that Ferguson is a tougher opponent that all the previously opponents he has faced inside the UFC Octagon.
“Last couple years, I’ve competed with guys like [Edson] Barboza, [Rafael] dos Anjos, Conor, [Dustin] Poirier, [Al] Iaquinta; all of these guys not tough like Tony Ferguson. And that’s why now I feel I have real motivation, because before when I watch all these opponents, I think, ‘OK, I can beat this guy.’ Of course I work hard, but right now it’s like a very, very tough opponent. And we focus like always, but right now we have more focus, more hard work. Tony is not like these guys. He’s a little bit more tough than all of them.”
When asked about McGregor’s recent comeback against ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC 246, where the Irishman scored a speedy 40 second TKO win, Khabib was quick to throw shade on the win.
“’Cowboy’ always lose all his main event fights. Always. I don’t remember when he win. The last ten fights, I think he lose six or seven times. He’s not high level lightweight or welterweight right now. He’s not. Of course he has a big name but his time is finished.
“Conor picked a very good opponent. Now, he come back and beat ‘Cowboy’, who lost ten fight, seven time [seven of his last eleven fights] and then they talk about, ‘OK, this guy’s come back.’ No, he has to fight with really tough opponents, like Justin Gaethje or something like this. He has to come back to lightweight division, he has to cut weight. This is just my opinion.”
The UFC lightweight champion went on to say that he believes McGregor is ducking the toughest opponents in the division.
“I think he’s ducking tough matchups, not only Justin Gaethje. He just choose, ‘OK, who’s going to be my next fight? Like, I need easy fight’. Of course, he can because he’s big star but anyway, let’s talk about me, let’s talk about my next fight.”
When pushed to discuss McGregor a little more, Khabib claimed that McGregor wasn’t a real contender and that the man he will stand opposite inside the Octagon at UFC 249, Tony Ferguson, is a real contender.
“I think people want to see us continue what happened last time. They just want to see drama. If you ask people, ‘Guys, what do you think, who’s gonna win?’ ninety nine percent going to say ‘Khabib, like he did first time.’ Just people want to see a big drama show, only for this one.
“If we talk about money, this is good. If we talk about drama, this is good. If we talk about real lightweight contender or real lightweight championship fight, this is not good. This is not real lightweight championship fight. But if we talk about drama and money, of course this is good. But I come here for show, to make my legacy. For my legacy, I have to beat tough opponents like Dustin Poirier, like Iaquinta, like other guys. Right now it’s Tony Ferguson. I have to beat all of them, who are like real contenders, not fake contenders.”
While Team Khabib have made it clear in recent months that they are not interested in facing McGregor again, Khabib’s Head Coach Javier Mendez has recently stated that they probably won’t have a say in who his man will have to fight in the future.
How do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson will go at UFC 249? And would you like to see a rematch between Khabib and Conor McGregor?