Former UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor said Friday that rival Khabib Nurmagomedov is "afraid" of a potential rematch.
Nurmagomedov defeated the Irish superstar at UFC 229 in October 2018.
McGregor is preparing for his first fight since that loss, a welterweight clash with Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 on Jan. 18, but that didn't stop him from taking a jab at Khabib during an interview with Oscar Willis of TheMacLife (via MMAJunkie's Nolan King).
"[Nurmagomedov] is trembling," he said. "That man is trembling. He doesn't want it. He doesn't want it. You get it. He's trying not to lose it again … I just smell [expletive]. That's all it is. He's afraid, and that's it. Everyone wants it. The boss wants it—Dana [White] wants it. We all want it. He can run, but he cannot hide. I look forward to it."
Here's a look at the full interview:
It's hard to know exactly what to expect when McGregor takes on Cerrone. While McGregor is still one of MMA's top draws, the first clash with Khabib represents his only trip into the Octagon since late 2016.
"Conor wants to fight three times this year," the UFC president said. "He's hoping that if he beats Cowboy, he can turn right around and fight Khabib, but that timing and math isn't going to work out. But you know Conor. Conor thinks the way Conor thinks."
Anything less than a dominant showing against Cerrone, who's lost back-to-back fights against Ferguson and Justin Gaethje, could keep McGregor out of the title picture for awhile.