Don't expect a rematch just yet between lightweights Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, according to UFC President Dana White during a recent appearance on ESPN's Now or Never. Instead, White sees McGregor potentially facing a strong matchup against Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone.
"Yeah, I like that fight," he said of the matchup. "They both have called each other out. First of all, Cowboy, tell me that last boring fight that guy was in. The answer is never. Unbelievable fight he just had. And Conor McGregor has fought anybody we've ever asked him to. If these two want to fight I'm in."
Regardless of potential matchups on the table, McGregor will first have to serve a six-month suspension for his role in a post-fight melee following his title defense loss to Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. McGregor was also fined $50,000 for the incident.
The sanctions, issued by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, resulted from a post-fight scuffle immediately following Nurmagomedov's victory against McGregor. As Nurmagomedov left the octagon to confront McGregor's camp, McGregor traded blows with both Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Zubaira Tukhugov in the cage. No injuries were reported and no arrests were made, though all fighters involved are answering to the athletic commission.
Nurmagomedov is currently serving a nine-month suspension and is facing a substantially higher $500,000 fine.
While White did not deny the appeal of a rematch between the two fighters, he did express the need for each of them to pick up a win against other opponents before that happens.
UFC 229 was the highest-selling pay-per-view event in UFC history, with interest in the bout amplified by the ongoing animosity and unsanctioned violence between the two. Last year. McGregor threw a moving dolly into a bus window occupied by Nurmagomedov and teammates.A rematch, should it occur, would no doubt be a blockbuster event for the UFC, only strengthened if both fighters are coming off of successful returns to the octagon against other opponents. Also, depending on what happens between now and then, the lightweight championship belt could again be on the line.
Also in the cards for McGregor could potentially be a trilogy bout with Nate Diaz, with the two men so far tied at 1-1 in the octagon following Diaz's submission win and McGregor's victory by decision. White was not optimistic about that matchup, or about any action from the Diaz brothers anytime soon.
"That's more of a never. The Diaz brothers, they don't want to fight," White said.