UFC: Abdelaziz Reveals Gaethje Turned Down Fight With McGregor
Ali Abdelaziz, who manages both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje, is adamant that Conor McGregor will not be competing for the UFC lightweight title any time soon.
Khabib was set to the face interim lightweight champion Gaethje at UFC 253, to unify to the title. However, it is unlikely that ‘The Eagle’ will be ready to return in September, following the recent death of his father, Abdulmanap.
In an interview with TMZ Sports (transcribed by BJPenn.com), Abdelaziz claimed that Gaethje had turned down the chance to fight McGregor, after Khabib suggested the interim champion face the Irishman following the news of his father’s passing.
“Justin said no [to McGregor]. Khabib told me to go tell Justin to fight Conor. Justin said no. Listen, we dictate this. Conor right now he can be a backup fighter. He can go make weight and maybe make some money, but at the end of the day, that’s the two champions. He’s not even number three, he’s number four or number five. Conor can go fight Nate [Diaz] or [Jorge] Masvidal. We’re not interested in fighting him. He needs to get some wins and he needs to fight some good opponents. I said, the only way he can fight Khabib is if he fights Islam Makhachev, then he can fight Khabib,” Abdelaziz said.
Last week, UFC president Dana White confirmed that McGregor is retired. However, his name continues to be associated with the likes of Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz.
While it doesn’t sound like Khabib will be ready to fight in September, Abdelaziz assures fans that he will be back to face Gaethje by the end of the year.
“Khabib has some goals to accomplish,” Abdelaziz stated. “You will see him before the end of the year. Now him and Dana are talking and I’m talking to the matchmakers and we’re trying to set up a date. I’m sure Dana will let the fans know when Khabib will fight. We have a blockbuster main event between him and Justin Gaethje. Two of the best lightweights today of the recent era. We’ve seen what Khabib does to all his opponents. We’ve seen what Justin Gaethje has done to his last four opponents. He dismantled Tony Ferguson. He made him look like an absolute amateur. And that’s the best two guys in the world and they’re going to fight.
Do you think we could see Conor McGregor return in 2020? And possibly face the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje?