Khabib Nurmagomedov has been in no mood to talk about a potential rematch with Conor McGregor - just ask ESPN's Stephen A Smith.
The UFC lightweight champ appeared on ESPN's First Take ahead of his upcoming bout with Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on Sunday.
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But the question on many people's lips hasn't been about that fight; it's whether the Russian champion will lock horns again with McGregor in what would be one of the most anticipated fights in UFC history.
There's been plenty of talk that Khabib could face the winner of the McGregor-Dustin Poirier fight that has been pencilled in for next year - a suggestion the Russian didn't seem to be on board with.
“I finished both of them,” he said. “And finished both with a dominant performance. I’m not interested in these guys because I need something new. I need new blood, new energy. Justin Gaethje is giving me new motivation. He’s the real deal right now.
“If I think about both Dustin and Conor, they don’t give me good energy. They don’t give me motivation. Fight? For what? My legacy? I already put these guys on my desk. I already beat them. Everything is finished with these guys.”
Khabib has made his thoughts on the matter abundantly clear in the past, insisting that McGregor had his chance and doesn't deserve another shot.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 20, 2020
“I don’t think he’s ever going to deserve this title shot because he’s not focused, drinks too much, smashes old people – he don’t deserve my attention,” he told Yahoo Sports.
“I’m finished with him. I made him tap out. It is only a money fight.
“Like, coaching with me on Ultimate Fighter or something forget about him.”
Yet Smith couldn't resist tying to eek out a different response from the undefeated champ during the segment on First Take.
“A lot of times, particularly in the fight game, you talk about giving the people what they want to see,” Smith.
“One of the things I said last week talking about you, sir, was that you really, really don’t want to fight somebody like Conor McGregor again – primarily because you don’t like him and you think fighting him again gives him attention that you don’t believe he deserves. How accurate is that?”
Khabib's response was absolutely savage.
“Right now, even I don’t want to talk about this s***," he said as the topic of discussion came to an abrupt halt.
Khabib's brutal answer and Smith's persistence with questions about McGregor, had fight fans in a frenzy on social media.
— Ben (@BeeDubbb) October 20, 2020
Khabib is an absolute savage. https://t.co/A2yilSvUP8
— TheBosnian1🇧🇦🇺🇸 #FCIM (@FCIMCO) October 20, 2020
That’s a cold piece shut down!
— FRYE (@FRYE21814528) October 20, 2020
Khabib on First Take is a savage lol
— Taylor-Gäng (@Akidwitno_Home) October 20, 2020
— S_P_i_Ñ_K (@S_P_i_N_K) October 21, 2020
- Don’t wanna talk about this guy
- ok but would you fight Connor?
- Don’t want to talk about him
- I see... let’s talk about a rematch with McGregor?
— Fidel M.R. (@FMRMX) October 20, 2020
Khabib ain't playing clickbait headlines.
But they got one anyway.
— Michael Yavorsky (@YavorskyMichael) October 20, 2020
"I don’t want to talk about this shit!"
Stephen A Smith: pic.twitter.com/sdo8tVG4uf
— Lavezzi22 (@DP_Lavezzi22) October 20, 2020
Khabib ‘excited’ about potential fight against legend
Many, including McGregor himself, have hoped that Nurmagomedov would step back into the Octagon for a rematch with the iconic Irish fighter after his fight with Gaethje.
Nurmagomedov, however, has repeatedly shut that — and any other potential matchup — down.
The Russian says once he gets past Gaethje on the weekend, he wants his next fight to be again retired legend Georges St-Pierre.
"I really become excited when I think about Georges St-Pierre," Nurmagomedov said on ESPN.
"I don't know if he wants to fight with me or not, can he make weight - 155 or not - but this fight makes me excited, honestly.
"And I think me vs. Georges is going to be very, very big fight. Like big fight for fans, big fight for pay-per-view, big fight for analytics, for everybody. This is only fight in UFC, after Gaethje, that makes me very excited."
Will GSP come out of retirement for Khabib?
St-Pierre is universally considered to be one of the greatest fighters of all time, and finished his career with a 26-2 overall record. The Canadian is set to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
He last fought in 2017, when he beat Michael Bisping at UFC 217 to win his 12th straight bout spanning back to 2007.
The 39-year-old spent most of his career at 170 pounds, and would likely have to dip down to 155 to take on Nurmagomedov. Still, he hasn’t shut down the idea of coming out of retirement.
"If I come back, it would be for one fight," St-Pierre said earlier this month, via ESPN. “And I need to take, for me, the biggest fish. And the one — for me, I believe — the top guy right now, the name is Khabib.
"As a fighter, the most exciting thing is to take the guy who seems invincible, unbeatable. He has the aura of invincibility. But it's also the scariest thing to do."
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