UFC President Dana White has all but confirmed another fight between two of the fiercest rivals in UFC history.
During his appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, White revealed that a rematch between Conor McGregor and Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is “absolutely possible” and will likely take place in 2020, per a video clip posted to YouTube.
“I think McGregor is gonna come back at the beginning of next year. So, realistically, all these guys are looking at September to see what happens with Khabib and Poirier. After that fight plays out, I think there’s gonna be a lot of movement going on.”
Nurmagomedov beat McGregor in their first fight last October, with the undefeated Russian winning via submission in the fourth round after dominating the Irishman for most of the bout. However, the infamous events which took place after the fight are what dominated the headlines afterward.
Following his victory, Nurmagomedov jumped over the barricade and attacked McGregor’s coaches, resulting in a brawl that saw both men being heavily fined and suspended. Furthermore, the Lightweight division was put on hold for months afterward while its champion served out his punishment.
The rivalry between these two opponents is personal, meaning a rematch is bound to make a lot of money for everyone involved. According to MMA Fighting, last year’s pay-per-view earned 2.4 million buys for UFC — a record for the company. With the heated drama that followed in the wake of their fight, the inevitable rematch will be a box office draw.
Since then, the bad blood between them has only intensified. As noted by The Washington Post, the two men engaged in a nasty Twitter beef back in April, which saw McGregor refer to his rival as a “rat,” while Nurmagomedov called the Irishman much worse.
— BJ Penn (@bjpenndotcom) July 26, 2019
The exchange resulted in White issuing a statement to Yahoo’s Kevin Iole, explaining that “the ongoing situation has escalated to a level that is unacceptable.” White concluded by saying that the situation would be handled internally.
White also told Rich Eisen that McGregor loves fighting and has a score to settle with his rival. Despite reports allegedly linking the fighter with movies, the UFC president assured the host that he’s been training and is ready to make his long-awaited comeback.
“[H]e’s in great shape, he’s staying in shape, he’s training, and he’s seeing how this thing plays out.”
Until then, fans can look forward to seeing the Russian in action at UFC 242, where he’ll face Dustin Poirier in a title unification bout.