Conor McGregor may be preparing for a fight with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246, but his thirst for vengeance against Khabib Nurmagomedov still needs to be quenched.
McGregor fell to the undefeated UFC lightweight champion in October 2018 by fourth-round rear naked choke, although he doesn’t remember the fight being as lopsided as some made it seem in the aftermath of that event.
The former two-division UFC champion would go as far as believing he was actually winning the fight right up until the moment when he got taken to the ground and submitted.
“In my mind, round 1 — I won round 1. I outstruck him 3-to-1,” McGregor told his MacLife website ahead of UFC 246. “He had position on the mat, but I outstruck him 3-to-1. What did he do in that first round? Second round, look at the lackadaisical approach I had to him, he was just running around the outside of the cage and he caught that lucky shot and he had a great second round.
“What happened after that? I win the third round. Even the opening exchanges in the fourth round. I was winning the fourth round up until that trip.”
Conor McGregor disrespected his team and it cost him the fight with Khabib
The fight didn’t go his way, but McGregor says it was actually surprising he did as well as he did that night considering the lack of focus he had as he prepared to face Nurmagomedov.
“That was after a horrendous camp where I was so disrespectful to the people that believe in me,” McGregor said. “So disrespectful to my team with my lack of commitment and I still went out and done that. Then I also landed the final blow of the night on his blood brother and his cousin.”
In the months since that fight happened, Nurmagomedov went on to defend his title against Dustin Poirier and he’s currently scheduled to face Tony Ferguson in the main event of UFC 249 in April.
He’s largely downplayed the chances that he would face McGregor again because he doesn’t believe the outspoken Irishman has done anything to earn it.
Is Khabib scared to fight Conor McGregor again?
McGregor has a slightly different take on why Nurmagomedov seems so opposed to the rematch.
“He is trembling. That man is trembling. He doesn’t want it,” McGregor said. “He doesn’t want it. You get it and he’s trying not to lose it again. I just smell s**t. That’s all it is. He’s afraid and that’s it but everyone wants it.
“The boss wants it, Dana [White] wants it, we all want it. So he can run, but he cannot hide. I look forward to it.”
McGregor added that his rivalry with Nurmagomedov is "far from" finished, but he’ll turn his attention back to that rematch after he dispatches Cerrone in January.
“We’ll come back to him,” McGregor said. “Like I said, he can run, but he cannot hide.”
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