The Gods of MMA can be cruel, and if you need proof of that, look no further than Khabib Nurmagomedov being pulled from his fight against Tony Ferguson at this weekend’s UFC 209 card. Khabib was taken to the hospital in the hours leading up to the official morning weigh-ins, and shortly afterwards the UFC made it official that he would not be competing on Saturday. It was a shocking turn of events … unless you happen to be Conor McGregor.
McGregor practically predicted this kind of thing would happen following his lightweight title victory at UFC 205. When asked about fighting top contender Nurmagomedov, Conor had this to say.
“He don’t fight too frequent for my liking, for me to commit to something like that,” McGregor noted. “I need to see solid proof that people are gonna show up and he’s a consisten pull out merchant. He had a good performance tonight, fair play to him. But I need to see active. I need to see activity. I need to see consistency. I need to see me. If you want me to come and change your life, if you want me to come pick you, you better have some damn good reasons for me to do that.”
Khabib has indeed had some problems with consistency in the past. He sat on the shelf unable to fight from 2014 to 2016, with two booked fights cancelled over reoccurring knee problems and a third (against this weekend’s opponent Tony Ferguson) scratched over another undisclosed injury. 2016 saw Nurmagomedov compete twice without problems, but obviously something went pretty sideways during his weight cut leading up to UFC 209.
Unfortunately for Khabib, this incident just reinforces Conor McGregor’s words and gives the fickle Irish champion a pretty big reason not to step into the Octagon against the fierce Russian wrestler. And hey, Conor’s not wrong. After so many last minute opponent switches, he has a right to be picky when it comes to who he agrees to fight. For Khabib, that probably means he’ll have to spend a year or more showing up and making weight before he sheds his image as a ‘pull out merchant.’