‘The Eagle’ has ascended to the top of the mountain, and now, Khabib Nurmagomedov has his eye on money fights.
In the cage after his five round unanimous decision victory against Al Iaquinta on Saturday night at UFC 223, Khabib Nurmagomedov called for a money fight. A money fight against one of the most popular fighters in the UFC. Against one of just four two-division champions in the promotion’s history. GSP. Georges St. Pierre. The Canadian was the man ‘The Eagle’ called out upon winning the UFC’s lightweight title. Not Conor McGregor.
Calling for the fight to be held in New York’s fabled Madison Square Garden, it seemed the newly crowned undisputed lightweight champion (undisputed to some, anyway, though Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor might have something to say about that) had moved on from pursuing a fight with McGregor.
That is, at least, until the post-fight press conference in Brooklyn. There, Khabib Nurmagomedov made it clear that McGregor was never really far from his mind.
“We have to finish this beef,” Nurmagomedov said (via MMA Fighting). “Beef, chicken, or something like this. He have to stop eat Burger Kings and — you want to fight? Come. I told you guys, we’re gonna make him humble. I told you guys, I’m gonna change this game. Now, only one champion. No more fake champions. No more champion who never defend his title, or something like this. Now, UFC have champion, and this champion want to defend his title. You want to fight? Come here.”
While it wasn’t the rallying cry that “we’re not here to take part — we’re here to take over!” was, it’s a start. But the question of fake champions looms large with an undisputed champion besieged by two other possible challengers to the throne, in McGregor and Ferguson. Not to mention Nurmagomedov having won the belt against the eleventh ranked lightweight, Al Iaquinta, in a fight booked at the eleventh hour.
Getting back to Khabib’s grand plan for McGregor, he added “Make world tour everywhere, Tokyo, Moscow, Dublin, Los Angeles, Rio. Big world tour, promote this fight, and fight end of the year, biggest arena in the world, Madison Square Garden. Why not? Or maybe in Zaire or Philippines. Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter, I’m here. He want to become lightweight champion? He have to fight with me.”