Khabib Nurmagomedov has stepped away from UFC — for now, at least — but he’s still taking aim at his most noteworthy adversary.
Conor McGregor’s return to the octagon was not a successful one for The Notorious. McGregor on Saturday night, in his first fight since Jan. 18 of last year, suffered a second-round TKO loss at the hands of Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 257. It marked the first knockout loss of McGregor’s professional career.
The surprising result to the highly anticipated bout in Abu Dhabi sparked an outpouring of social media posts. Among those to take to Twitter was Nurmagomedov, who criticized McGregor for his recent strategic decisions.
McGregor responded to Nurmagomedov’s tweet in his post-fight press conference.
“I’ll adjust and keep going,” McGregor said, via ESPN. “But if he wants to have his disrespectful comments, come back and let’s go again, my man. You know what I mean? I’m here for it. That’s fighting talk, you know what I mean? If you’re coming back, come back and you try and do it, you know what I mean? So, that’s that.”
After winning UFC’s lightweight championship in April 2018, Nurmagomedov successfully defended the belt against McGregor in October of that year, winning via fourth-round submission. Nurmagomedov successfully defend his title two more times — including against Poirier in September 2019 — before walking away from the sport in October of last year.
Should Nurmagomedov elect to return, it’s unlikely McGregor will get first crack at “The Eagle.” Poirier has earned the right to be in that match if it were to be on the table, and he’ll all but surely find himself in a title fight if UFC ultimately vacates Nurmagomedov’s lightweight championship.
As for McGregor, he’s now tasked with building himself back up after a telling defeat.