Khabib Nurmagomedov on Possible Conor McGregor Fight: 'I'm Going to Destroy Him'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2018

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - APRIL 07:  Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia reacts after his dominating performance over Al Iaquinta in their lightweight title bout during the UFC 223 event inside Barclays Center on April 7, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

It's unclear when Conor McGregor will make his return to the UFC, but Khabib Nurmagomedov is looking forward to possibly crossing paths with the former lightweight and featherweight champion.

Nurmagomedov discussed a potential fight against McGregor during an interview with Russian outlet Sport24 (h/t Bloody Elbow's Karim Zidan):

"I do not yet know who my opponent will be. The fight will likely take place in Las Vegas. I want to fight McGregor; the fans are also waiting for this fight. I hope that Conor wants this fight. He talked a lot but for some reason, as soon as it came down to real negotiations about the fight, he fell silent. ... In what round will I be able to knock McGregor out? I do not know, and no one can know this. I'm going to destroy him."

McGregor hasn't fought since November 2016. He took a break to prepare for his boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in August 2017. Then came his attack on a bus carrying fellow fighters ahead of UFC 223 at Barclays Center in April.

While avoiding making any specific promises, UFC President Dana White indicated in May that McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov could be on the table, per ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto"Conor and I are going to meet in Las Vegas. I'm pretty confident [a lightweight title fight] is a fight that Conor wants, and I'm pretty confident that is a fight Khabib wants. So yeah, I could see that happening."

Were it to finally become official, McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov would be one of the biggest fights of the year for the UFC.

Despite his lengthy layoff from mixed martial arts, no star is more valuable to the UFC than McGregor. Four of the top five pay-per-view buy rates in company history came when he was one of the headliners.

Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, is 26-0 and the No. 9 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC's official rankings. He captured the UFC lightweight title at UFC 223 in a unanimous decision win over Al Iaquinta.