Coach: Team Khabib Has No Control If McGregor Is UFC 249 Backup Plan

Khabib Dana White
Image Credit: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

Head coach Javier Mendez isn’t pretending that he or Khabib Nurmagomedov have control over the UFC’s decision making.

Nurmagomedov is scheduled to put his UFC lightweight gold on the line against Tony Ferguson on April 18. The 155-pound title bout will headline UFC 249 inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. “The Eagle” is going for his third successful title defense.

Javier Mendez Says Team Khabib Not In Control With UFC’s Decision Making

While Nurmagomedov has expressed disinterest in a rematch with Conor McGregor, his coach Javier Mendez admits that the decision ultimately rests with the UFC. Mendez told that if McGregor ends up being a backup for UFC 249, then that’s just how it’s going to be.

“Let’s not be naive and think that we’re in control,” Mendez told MMA Junkie. “We’re not in control. We can control what we do, but the organization controls who you fight and who you don’t fight.”

Nurmagomedov submitted McGregor back in Oct. 2018. It was “The Eagle’s” first successful defense of the lightweight gold. After the bout, a brawl between both sides ensued. This caused suspensions and fines to be handed out by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The issues between Nurmagomedov and McGregor had been brewing from a lobby confrontation to a bus attack, and even personal digs.

UFC president Dana White has said that McGregor will receive a shot at the winner of Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson. While it seems like any fight McGregor is involved in will bring in a slew of money, a rematch with Nurmagomedov is undoubtedly the most lucrative one.

The first bout between Nurmagomedov and McGregor brought in around 2.4 million pay-per-view buys. McGregor’s return fight against Donald Cerrone also made history by becoming the first ESPN+ exclusive PPV to bring in one million buys.

Do you think Conor McGregor will serve as a backup in case something goes wrong with the planned UFC 249 main event?