Conor McGregor was completely serious about training to fight Khabib in Siberia
When Dana White first made the claim, we felt it was just the fight promoter in him.
"Conor tells me, 'I want Floyd Mayweather then I want f***ing Khabib in Russia'. How do you not love him? How do you not love Conor McGregor? Amazing."
That was UFC president Dana White last summer, ahead of McGregor's professional boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Since White made that proclamation to MMA Junkie, McGregor lost to Mayweather, cashed one hell of a cheque for the fight, had a couple of run-ins with referee Marc Goddard, backed his sister Erin's 'Dancing with the Stars' campaign and attacked a bus carrying Khabib Nurmagomedov and several UFC fighters at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Quite the nine months but no UFC return and no clear sign of it.
One of the most frustrating aspects of McGregor's inaction has been the great fights fans are not getting to see. The lightweight division has stars like Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson, Nate Diaz, Kevin Lee and Dustin Poirier in its' stacked ranks and a McGregor fight against any of them would be hotly anticipated.
Owen Roddy, McGregor's striking coach, has now backed up White's claims and revealed a conversation he had with 'The Notorious' just after the Mayweather bout. He told the BBC MMA Show:
"Conor's a mad thing. He's very funny. He turned around to me and he's like, 'There's talk of me fighting Khabib. I might do it in Russia'."
"And he's like, 'You know what we'll do? We'll do it like Rocky, we'll go to Siberia. We'll train in the snow and I'll get one of those yokes that you put on your shoulders to get the lats'."
Roddy says he was crying with laughter as McGregor painted the ambitious scenario to him. McGregor was not joking.
"He was serious. He was like, 'Let's go!'
"I says, 'I'm not going to Siberia!'
"But that's it. He could go. Conor does mad things, and that's what we love him for. There's not many people would do that but Conor's like, 'I'll go to Russia and fight you in your back garden just to prove who I am'."
That all sounds great but, as we now know, McGregor has fallen foul of the Brooklyn law authorities and his employers at the UFC. There has been no word of a sanction coming from the promotion since UFC 223 wrapped up but the Dubliner is due back in court on June 14th facing several charges stemming from that Barclays Center bus attack.
The likelihood, if both McGregor and Nurmagomedov are signed up, is that any lightweight title fight would take place in Las Vegas, where the UFC has its headquarters.
"We'll do it like Rocky, we'll go to Siberia!"
Conor McGregor’s coach, Owen Roddy, tells @Peety_Editor about how the Notorious would train for a potential fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov.
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— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) April 27, 2018
If the fight does go ahead, expect it to break every record going.