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Khabib Nurmagomedov makes his long awaited return to the Octagon on Sept. 7 at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi when he takes on interim champ Dustin Poirier to unify the Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title.
Poirier won the right to face off against “The Eagle” by beating Max Holloway in April at UFC 236 for the vacant interim belt. Nurmagomedov hasn’t fought since last October at UFC 229 in his infamous bout against Conor McGregor in a fight where he dominated the Irishman before submitting him in the fourth-round via a rear-naked choke.
McGregor has been campaigning for a rematch against the current champion and Nurmagomdeov told reporters at the UFC 242 press conference that he’s confused as to why the Irishman thinks he deserves one given his inactivity in the fight game in recent years (Transcript via ESPN):
“The last three years he has only one victory and amateur boxing. How does he deserve a rematch?” Khabib asked at the UFC 242 press conference. “He tapped. He begged me, ‘Please don’t kill me.’ Now he’s talking about a rematch?”
Nurmagomedov said while he is solely focused on his upcoming fight against “The Diamond”, he believes Tony Ferguson should be next in line for a shot given his 12-fight winning streak in the division:
“Tony Ferguson [is] on the line. People who have win streaks [are] on the line,” Khabib said. “But not the guy who don’t win nothing the last three years. … Right now I’m focused on Sept. 7.”
Nurmagomedov questioned why he wasn’t fighting Ferguson to begin with on Sept. 7 as “El Cucuy” was originally offered the fight against Holloway but didn’t accept the offer, leading the UFC to instead hand the opportunity to Poirier:
“He deserves a title shot, in my opinion,” Nurmagomedov said. “But when the UFC asked him to fight Max Holloway, he didn’t take that fight. Right now, the problem is because of him. I don’t know why he didn’t take that fight. He took a regular fight with Cowboy [Cerrone]. I don’t understand this.”