Don’t listen to all the talking sports heads on TV who have been speculating on a Conor McGregor retirement after he takes home a $100 million plus paycheck from the Floyd Mayweather boxing match. All signs are pointing to the Irish lightweight champ continuing to fight, possibly as soon as New Years Eve.
Not only does McGregor have a time, but a place and a preferred opponent as well.
“You know what Conor told me? He said ‘I want Khabib in Russia,’” UFC president Dana White said in an interview with MMA Junkie. “Isn’t he f**king awesome? He’s like ‘I want Khabib, in Russia.’ He’s awesome. Conor McGregor is a f**king 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.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov is a rising star in the UFC and in Russia, one of the biggest hotbeds of mixed martial arts activity in the world. The lightweight fighter was set to face Tony Ferguson at UFC 209 in March for dibs on fighting McGregor, but a botched weight cut forced Nurmagomedov out at the last minute. Now it sounds like White is prepping to reset the fight, with McGregor on board to take on the winner.
“Those guys got to fight,” White said. “It would have seemed a lot worse if those two guys fought, and they were all sitting around waiting. It didn’t happen. That fight still needs to happen. So this thing could time out perfectly.”
Whether the UFC would go along with McGregor’s demand to hold the fight in Russia should Khabib win is unclear (the UFC has never held an event in the country before), but White obviously likes the enthusiasm Conor is showing. Especially in the face of growing resistance from other fighters in the promotion to just accept whatever the UFC tells them regarding opponents and dates and paychecks. That’s been a problem ever since the $4 billion dollar sale punched them in the face with how little they’re making.
Of course, that’s not an issue for Conor McGregor. Maybe the UFC would have an easier time finding unicorns if they waved around a little more unicorn money.