With Christmas Day in the rearview mirror, it seems Conor McGregor has left the season of peace and joy behind.
In a series of since-deleted posts on Twitter, “The Notorious” began again his calls for a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov, while also sneaking in a shot at the reigning UFC lightweight champion’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz.
It started off simply enough, with a little poke left open to interpretation: “MeDanaAliGonnaGetcha”
Of course, the presumed implication would be that next month’s planned meeting between Dana White and Nurmagomedov – and most likely Abdelaziz, as well – would include a pitch for a rematch between “The Eagle” and McGregor, a fight the UFC president has long claimed would be the most lucrative in the history of the sport.
McGregor’s messages then took a bit of a sinister turn, though, with “The Notorious” going a little deeper into his arsenal by announcing that “Robert Earl Britton is The Man!”
Britton is an alias Abdelaziz illegally used in 2001, for which he was later found guilty in Colorado of criminal impersonation and issued a 90-day unsupervised probation.
Abdelaziz quoted the tweet and replied, “Wrong the #Eagle is,” including a photo taken an instant after McGregor submitted to Nurmagomedov in the fourth round of their UFC 229 headliner in October 2018 – and before the infamous ensuing post-fight brawl.
Abdelaziz would again quote the tweet shortly after, this time telling McGregor, “You will never be champ again because I have army waiting for you 155/170,” and listing off the names if a number of high-profile Dominance MMA clients in the lightweight and welterweight divisions, including Justin Gaethje, reigning UFC champ Kamaru Usman, Gilbert Burns, Khamzat Chimaev, Islam Makhachev, Beneil Dariush, Belal Muhammad and Vicente Luque, before adding “Nurmagomedov broke your mental.”
McGregor had one last parting shot for the semi-retired UFC champ, replying that it is “Decision time for the 🦆,” a clear play on the claim often made that Nurmagomedov is the GOAT – MMA’s greatest of all-time – and suggesting the Russian is ducking a potential rematch.
McGregor deleted his tweets shortly after the exchange, though Abdelaziz’s replies still remained online at the time of publication.
“Mystic Mac” has been a master prognosticator throughout his MMA career, seemingly visualizing the future ahead of anyone else around him. Whether or not the planting of these latest seeds will ultimately come to fruition remains to be seen.
For now, former UFC double champ McGregor (22-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) is slated to face former interim lightweight champ Dustin Poirier (26-6 MMA, 18-5 UFC) in the main event of UFC 257, which takes place Jan. 23 in Abu Dhabi.
The rematch of the pair’s initial 2014 meeting has big implications at 155 pounds, with Poirier currently No. 2 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie lightweight rankings, and McGregor at No. 6. The winner would be in an envious spot in the UFC title picture, though McGregor’s star power certainly means he’s capable of inserting himself into a UFC title shot nearly at will.
Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov (29-0 MMA, 13-0 UFC) remains non-committal about his fighting future since announcing his retirement from the sport following his October win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. UFC brass continues to recognize Nurmagomedov’s status as champion despite the announcement, pending the January meeting in Abu Dhabi.