On Saturday, October 5, Khabib Nurmagomedov spoke at the Synergy Global Forum, which took place at the Gazprom Arena stadium in St. Petersburg. The Russian mixed martial arts fighter talked with visitors to the event about business, football and even rivalry with singer Olga Buzova on Instagram. But the most interesting statements of the UFC champion concerned his sports career and Conor McGregor.
The discussion of this topic began with the question of whether Nurmagomedov was ready to shake hands with the former adversary, whom he won the title fight a year ago, after which there was almost a brawl between them with the participation of other fighters. Eagle replied that it was not ready for such a step.
“At the moment, I'm not ready to shake hands with Conor. Any person makes mistakes, everyone has their own shortcomings. But when a person continues to behave this way, then this is his nature. We recently saw how he removed a 70-year-old elderly man. This is also an indicator of his morality and education. Apologies must always be accepted. If a person apologizes and understands his mistakes, then we must forgive him, ”Nurmagomedov said.
There was a discussion of a possible battle with McGregor, whom the Irishman is waiting for to get even for defeat. Nurmagomedov has repeatedly expressed his opinion on this subject, and his position has remained unchanged - the former champion should earn a rematch.
“From a fighting point of view, the duel with McGregor is a passed stage. I have nothing to prove there. Businessmen will tell me that we need to fight with him, since this is a money battle. It would be possible to remove all the main applicants and defeat him again to expand my agricultural projects, ”the Dagestan wrestler joked.
However, he still hinted that McGregor might not go all the way to the challenger title again if the condition is met. Nurmagomedov is ready to fight with him if the fight is held in Russia at the Gazprom Arena, because in this case at least 70 thousand fans will see the match live.
“I think we would fill the Gazprom Arena if we had a fight here. The UFC record is 56 thousand spectators. I could easily beat him at the stadium "Zenith". A couple of days ago I had a meeting with the head of the RDIF Kirill Dmitriev, and we discussed where the next fight could be held, as I am negotiating with the UFC about the fight in Russia. I immediately remembered the Gazprom Arena, where the record of hockey matches at the game CSKA and SKA was broken. I could fill the stadium and fight here, ”Nurmagomedov expressed confidence.
The UFC champion finally recalled that he is first of all considering another opponent for himself, but he will keep in mind the option with McGregor if he allows him to earn more money and invest them in the development of his native Dagestan.
“Tony Ferguson deserves more. We must give him his due, a man goes to a series of 12 victories. Conor needs to return to MMA, stop beating old people. Let them come back, win and stand in line. Let him earn his place in the title race. Although for development, for the creation of jobs in Dagestan, one could have beaten McGregor, ”concluded Nurmagomedov.
Talk that Nurmagomedov will hold the first fight under the auspices of the UFC in Russia began after his last victory over Dustin Porrier. The wrestler himself has repeatedly stated that he wants to please his fans and speak to them. However, for a long time he only had to fight in the United States, since the mixed martial arts market is best developed there, and broadcasting can bring the highest earnings.
But after Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor and became the undisputed champion, he got the opportunity to put forward his conditions or, at least, discuss them with the leadership of the promotion. So far, there have been no categorical statements that the “Eagle” will not be able to hold the next match at home. The opportunity to gather about 75 thousand fans under one roof should be of interest to the organization.
So far, there are no concrete plans when Nurmagomedov will fight in St. Petersburg at the second largest stadium of “Russia”. Gazprom Arena is one of the most popular sports facilities in the country where Zenit plays regularly, in the summer there will be matches of the European Football Championship, a year later the Champions League final will take place, and the rest of the time concerts and other events will be held. In order to include the UFC tournament on this list, at least you have to wait until the stadium is unloaded.
Nurmagomedov wants to enter the ring again pretty soon. According to his manager, Rizvan Magomedov, the fans have to wait only six months.
“The next battle of Habib will be held in March or April. Where? This is still a big question. Negotiations are ongoing with different parties. I think we will find out about this within a month. In general, there are a lot of offers, not only from Russia. There are a number of countries that express a desire to hold a tournament, the main event of which would be a duel with the participation of Habib. But, of course, Habib wants to fight in Russia - in Moscow or St. Petersburg. We'll see. The work is underway. I think in the near future we’ll stop at something. A covered arena for 75 thousand spectators is a good story, ”Magomedov recently told Sport Express.
Although Nurmagomedov himself mentions Ferguson and McGregor among the likely rivals, the option of meeting with Georges Saint-Pierre is still possible. The Russian has repeatedly expressed respect for the Canadian and looked for opportunities to fight with him, but he has already completed his career. Nevertheless, according to Magomedov, Saint-Pierre is ready to return to the sport, and negotiations are ongoing with him. In the UFC, they first want to conduct a fight between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson, and only then provide the Russians with complete freedom of action.