Although the fight fans hoped to see materialize was against Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov is apparently setting his sights on another fighter.
Ali Abdelaziz, manager of the reigning UFC Lightweight Champion, said that a fight against former UFC Welterweight and Middleweight Champion Georges “Rush” St-Pierre at 155 pounds is the fight to make for his client right now.
“We believe the fight to make is the Georges St-Pierre fight at 155 pound’s,” Ali Abdelaziz said. “Khabib wants to fight for legacy and not for a soap opera drama show, and we think Conor doesn’t deserve this opportunity. The guy hasn’t fought in almost two years. Why does he deserve to fight for the title? He should get his ass back in the line and work his way up.”
When “The Eagle” won the 155-pound title by defeating Al Iaquinta back in April, the UFC had a plan in store that would have likely been one of the biggest business decisions the company would have made in years.
According to MMAFighting.com, the UFC had a plan to book a mini four-man tournament that would have included four of the biggest drawing fighters in the sport — Conor McGregor, Georges St-Pierre, Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The company wanted GSP vs. Diaz on August 4th in Los Angeles, Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor in the fall and the winners squaring off by the end of the year.
The plans ended up failing to come to fruition when GSP vs. Diaz was failed to be booked for a number of reasons, one of which included St-Pierre saying he still doesn’t feel healthy enough to make a comeback at this point in time.
“I’m not ready to fight yet,” GSP told MMAFighting in a recent interview. “I need to wait until all the symptoms of my ulcer stop. It’s much better than it was but it’s not 100 percent yet. If I try to return for a training camp for a fight it will amplify and go back to what it was in the beginning. I need to get over this first for my own health and safety.”
While GSP not being ready to return would indicate it’s unlikely to happen, Abdelaziz insists that UFC should be talking to GSP for Khabib’s first title defense as UFC Lightweight Champion, not former title-holder McGregor. He did, however, mention that Khabib could be pursuaded into fighting “The Notorious” one for one main reason — revenge for what happened in Brooklyn, New York earlier this year.
“There’s only one reason Khabib wants to fight him: to make him pay for what he did [in Brooklyn],” said Abdelaziz. “For Khbaib, it’s not only about money. It’s about disciplining him. That being said, UFC should be talking to Georges, not Conor.”
Who do you think UFC should book as Khabib Nurmagomedov’s opponent for his first UFC Lightweight Championship defense? Sound off in the Comments section below.