The UFC’s plan is to have Conor McGregor fight for the lightweight title again, following his quick win at UFC 246. But, since the bout went down, there’s been no indication Khabib Nurmagomedov’s willing to be part of the process…
Nurmagomedov calls McGregor vs. Cerrone a “well organized circus”
While the news that McGregor was going to fight Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 last month generated a lot of excitement, it also prompted a lot of scrutiny and criticism. The reason being that although Cerrone is one of the most respected fighters in the game, he’s closer to 40 now than 30 (36), and he was coming off losses to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.
Since Ferguson had already done his part to lock up a fight with the lightweight champ, Khabib, lots of people argued McGregor should fight Gaethje. So, when it was confirmed McGregor was going to face Cerrone at UFC 246, the words “warm-up fight” started firing around.
Well, since McGregor cruised through Cerrone last month, UFC President Dana White has said McGregor has locked up another title shot. But, while speaking at a media event recently in Russia, Nurmagomedov laid into the UFC’s matchmaking plans (quotes via RT).
“Millions of people watch, but there aren’t a million fighters. There are 300, 400, 500 that fight in the UFC. They have trainers, so let’s say 10,000 people that know MMA. They see who loses and under what circumstances, what moves, when he fought, where he fought, what organization. Few people know those details, others just don’t care who’s fighting and how, who he fought in the past, who the opponent is, they don’t know anything. They just watch the fight. And UFC works very well with that.”
“So they picked him (Cerrone) and their plan worked and people started to talk about it again, about a rematch and other stuff. Cerrone lost seven out of his last 10 fights. A man comes out 10 times and loses seven, and he gets called a legend. Well, let him be a legend, but his time is up.”
“If someone finds out that the fight was fixed, it would be a huge blow to the UFC’s reputation. They picked a good opponent though – an opponent that never won anything serious. He could have kept winning and winning and when it came time for a big fight, and just gave up because he’s mentally weak. It’s just a well-organized circus.”
Comments aren’t a surprise?
So, Cerrone boosters may take issue with Khabib’s comments about “Cowboy” being “mentally weak” or the notion is “time is up”. But, really, what the champ said shouldn’t be a surprise.
For sometime, Nurmagomedov has said that McGregor needs to beat top contenders before he deserves a title shot. While Cerrone is beloved by fans, and for good reason, should a title shot be awarded after beating someone who’s lost three straight? From a meritocratic perspective no. But, meritocracy often goes out the window, when financial considerations come into play.