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26th Dec 2016

Donald Cerrone offers sobering reason not to get excited about McGregor v Nurmagomedov

He should know

Patrick McCarry

“If you want me to come and change your life, if you want me to come pick you then you’d better have some damn reasons for me to do that.”

So said Conor McGregor as the name Khabib Nurmagomedov was offered up as a potential challenger for his newly acquired UFC lightweight belt.

‘The Notorious’ was allowed to bask in his UFC 205 victory over Eddie Alvarez for all of 40 minutes before he started getting asked about his first title defence. He quipped about Nurmagomedov only fighting ‘once in eight years’ (he has, in fact, fought three times since October 2013).

McGregor was touching on a well-known fact in MMA circles – Nurmagomedov has a tendency to pull out of fights.

While ‘The Eagle’ will most likely have to go through Tony Ferguson to get a shot at McGregor, Donald Cerrone has offered a sobering take on his willingness to fight regularly. In an interview earlier this year, Cerrone said:

“Khabib has pulled out of the fight with me five times. He signed the contract five times.”

He adds, “If he signed a contract [for a fight] he didn’t want, and the UFC forced him to do, he’s always looking for an out. Because I can’t tell you that you’re not hurt.

“If you say you’ve a broken bone, the UFC will say ‘Okay, show it to us’. But you can say that you’ve pulled your back so I can’t prove you don’t have pain… and they pull out of the fight with an excuse.”

UFC 205: Nurmagomedov v Johnson

Nurmagomedov certainly does not seem to have any issue with signing bout agreements. He signed one to fight McGregor and Alvarez at UFC 205, when he was being used as leverage by the promotion.

He also claims to have signed on the dotted line to fight Ferguson for next March.

We’ll leave the final word (for now) with McGregor:

“For me to commit to something like that, I’m going to need solid proof that people are going to show up and he’s a consistent pull-out merchant… We’ll see how it goes.

“I need to see activity, I need to see consistency, I need to see me.”