Conor McGregor Wants Khabib Nurmagomedov Fight in Russia, Says Dana White

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12:  UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor of Ireland warms up backstage at Madison Square Garden prior to his lightweight championship fight agianst Eddie Alvarez during the UFC 205 event on November 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

UFC President Dana White has revealed Conor McGregor is keen to defend his lightweight title against Khabib Nurmagomedov in Russia after his boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. 

McGregor is set to take on Mayweather in the ring on August 26, meaning the UFC lightweight belt won't be on the line for some time. However, White told MMAjunkie that the Irishman is ready to go into the lion's den. 

"You know what Conor told me? He said, 'I want Khabib in Russia,'" said White. "Isn't he (expletive) awesome? He's like, 'I want Khabib, in Russia.' He's awesome. Conor McGregor is a (expletive) unicorn. There's nothing like him. He's working on boxing Floyd Mayweather and then he's talking about fighting Khabib in Russia right after."

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12:  UFC President Dana White speaks to the media during the UFC 205 post fight press conference at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

As noted in the report, Nurmagomedov is regarded as the second-best lightweight in the UFC having won all eight of his bouts in the promotion so far.

The 28-year-old Russian has been set to fight Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title on three occasions, although the bout has fallen through each time, most recently at UFC 209 when Nurmagomedov was put in hospital after a difficult weight cut. "That fight still needs to happen," said White.

As noted by Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting, McGregor isn't the only fighter who fancies a shot at Nurmagomedov; after beating Michael Chiesa on Sunday, Kevin Lee called out the Russian:

Meanwhile, Jorge Masvidal, who lost to Demian Maia at UFC 211 said he'd been keen to fight Nurmagomedov in his homeland back in February:

The UFC has yet to stage an event in Russia and Nurmagomedov has insisted in the past a show should be scheduled in the country, especially in favour of Ireland, where McGregor is from.

"Ireland only has like six million people. I am from Russia, 150 million people," he told the Luke Thomas Show in October (h/t Darragh Murphy of Joe.co.uk). "If UFC don't give me the title fight after this fight, I'm going to show how I have power in Russia, and I know if I don't fight for the title next fight, UFC will never ever go to Russia."

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 01:  Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia holds an open workout for fans and media inside T-Mobile Arena on March 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

McGregor's last outing in the UFC came against Eddie Alvarez, when he clinched the lightweight title. With the win, the Irishman became the first fighter in the history of the sport to hold two titles concurrently, having also been in possession of the featherweight belt at the time.