UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has said Conor McGregor begged for his life during the showdown between the pair at UFC 229.
McGregor was beaten in the fourth round by Nurmagomedov in October, with the latter dominating the contest for long spells before forcing his opponent to submit.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday in London, Nurmagomedov said McGregor asked for mercy when the two shared the Octagon, and he shut down any talk of a possible rematch between the duo, per Greg Rosenstein of ESPN:
"The last three years he has only one victory and amateur boxing. How does he deserve a rematch? He tapped. He begged me, 'Please don't kill me.' Now he's talking about a rematch?
"Tony Ferguson [is] on the line. People who have win streaks [are] on the line. But not the guy who don't win nothing the last three years. ... Right now I'm focused on September 7."
It has been confirmed that Nurmagomedov will face interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirer on September 7 at UFC 242 in a unification contest in Abu Dhabi.
Here is more of what the Russian had to say when asked about his previous opponent:
The lightweight star added that in addition to Poirier and Ferguson, he is also keen on a possible showdown with welterweight great Georges St-Pierre in the future:
Nurmagomedov's manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told TMZ that McGregor would need to "get on his knees and beg" for a rematch earlier in June, adding that "Conor needs us right now."
In beating McGregor, Nurmagomedov added to his reputation as one of the best fighters in the world. The 30-year-old was exceptional up against the Irishman and appeared at ease on the big stage following an ill-tempered buildup.
After the fight, members of both camps stormed the Octagon and were involved in a brawl. Nurmagomedov picked up a nine-month ban from the sport because of his involvement.
In his return to the sport, he doesn't appear focused on fighting McGregor again. ESPN's Brett Okamato thinks Ferguson, having beat Donald Cerrone at UFC 238, deserves his opportunity to go up against an elite fighter:
Brett Okamoto @bokamotoESPN
Gotta digest that for a bit, but I'll say my initial reaction is: The way it ended sucks for everyone, but Tony once again looked like he could be the best lightweight in the world and I want to see him in the fight that answers that question for good, vs. Khabib/Dustin winner.
There's no guarantee the winner of the main event at UFC 242 will be Nurmagomedov, though, as Poirer has won his last four fights.
As for McGregor, it's closing in on three years since he won a fight in the UFC, with his previous victory coming against Eddie Alvarez in November 2016.