Khabib Nurmagomedov reacts to Conor McGregor's shock UFC 257 loss
This one came hot on the heels of Conor McGregor's loss.
Khabib Nurmagomedov was watching the main and co-main events of UFC 257 as the leading lightweight contenders scrapped it out in Abu Dhabi.
Although he vacated his lightweight belt last October, the Dagestani was on 'Fight Island' this week and did meet with UFC president Dana White. It remains unclear if he will ever fight in the promotion again [a Georges St-Pierre bout could lure him back] but his interest in the sport remains high.
White has stated, last weekend, that Nurmagomedov could return to the UFC if one of the main contenders for his belt did "something spectacular". Look no further than Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier.
Former Bellator lightweight champion Chandler announced his arrival to the UFC by knocking out Dan Hooker in the first round of the co-main event. He called out McGregor, Poirier and Nurmagomedov before declaring 'there's a new king in the lightweight division'.
McGregor and Poirier were up next and although 'The Notorious' had some dangerous moments, over two rounds, it was 'The Diamond' that proved how much he has progressed since the pair first met in 2014.
Poirier's exacting leg kicks hobbled McGregor in that second round and, with his opponent effectively immobilised, he teed off, knocked his opponent to the mat and forced referee Herb Dean to jump in and end the contest.
While McGregor bemoaned his lack of activity in the UFC [he last fought in January 2020 but beat Donald Cerrone in only 40 seconds], Nurmagomedov offered another few reasons for the defeat. He declared:
'This is what happened, when you change your team, leave the sparring partners who made you a champion and sparring with little kids, far away from reality.'
This is what happened, when you change your team, leave the sparring partners who made you a champion and sparring with little kids, far away from reality.
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) January 24, 2021
McGregor was asked about the tweet in the post-fight press conference and said 'my team has been the team since day one'. "Respect the athletes," he added. "That's the character of the man, for sure, behind the mask... that's fighting talk!"
Following the event, Dana White likened McGregor to Rocky Balboa in the movie 'Rocky 3' and maintained that it is hard to 'be a savage' when you are arriving for fight week in a luxury yacht.
McGregor had spoken of a Khabib Nurmagomedov rematch before his bout with Poirier. Next up, he is more likely to be fighting Nate Diaz or Justin Gaethje.