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26th Nov 2016

Khabib Nurmagomedov explains why he wouldn’t want to finish Conor McGregor in the first round

"I want to make him look very bad!"

Darragh Murphy

It’s looking more and more likely that the paths of Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov are set to cross in 2017.

Reports emerged on Saturday that the UFC were planning to strip McGregor of his featherweight title so that 1. They’d have a viable interim title fight on which to hang their UFC 206 pay-per-view in the form of Max Holloway vs. Anthony Pettis and 2. That the 145lbs division wouldn’t continue for another year without the title being defended.

It would appear that former long-time featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo, who currently holds the interim strap, will be promoted to his previous perch and will face the winner of Holloway and Pettis in a unification bout at some stage next year.

What that means for McGregor is that he will likely be expected to defend his freshly won lightweight crown when he returns after the birth of his firstborn next May.

And the 24-0 record of Nurmagomedov would lead you to believe that he’s the prime candidate for the title shot.

‘The Notorious’ has previously stated that a fight against the undefeated Russian doesn’t interest him due to Nurmagomedov’s track record of pulling out of fights with injuries and the reputation of American Kickboxing Academy fighters was dealt yet another blow this week when Daniel Cormier was forced to withdraw from UFC 206.

If Nurmagomedov does get the nod to take on McGregor in the most lucrative fight of his career to date then he will pose a whole new set of problems to the Irishman as a better grappler simply doesn’t exist at lightweight.

Conor McGregor with Eddie Alvarez 12/11/2016

And Nurmagomedov has insisted that he would not want to finish McGregor if and when they are locked in the Octagon with one another.

“I want to take him down, speak with him, slap him, make him nervous … like, ‘Hey, get up! Let’s go! Where is your boxing?’ … play with him and make him give up. This is what I want,” Nurmagomedov told TMZ Sports.

“But I don’t want to finish him first round, second round, third round … I want to fight with him for 25 minutes like five rounds and I want to make him look very bad. And finish his hype.”

Nurmagomedov was so confident in his superiority on the ground against his most recent opponent, Michael Johnson, that he simply told him to give up so that he could avoid any inevitable excess damage.

And the fact that all three of McGregor’s career defeats have come by way of submission will have ‘The Eagle’ dreaming of having his way with him on the mat.

Catch up with this week’s episode of Football Friday Live