The UFC is in desperate need of some big fights.
With Ronda Rousey now plying her trade in WWE, Jon Jones’ future up in the air and Conor McGregor up in court this month, there is a slight concern that upcoming pay-per-views will fall well below targets as the organisation’s biggest superstars are currently unavailable.
But until recently, the UFC was putting together plans for an incredible tournament involving four of its most high profile names.
According to esteemed journalist Ariel Helwani, the world’s preeminent mixed martial arts promotion had hoped to match up Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, as well as Georges St-Pierre and Nate Diaz, with the winners facing off against one another.
McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov would have been for the UFC lightweight title and, in all likelihood, they will end up facing off whenever ‘The Notorious’ is eligible to return to the Octagon.
It was Nurmagomedov who McGregor was targeting when he and his friends attacked a bus in New York in April, an incident which has seen the Irishman charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief.
After UFC 223, a plan was put in place for a mini tournament involving four of the biggest stars in MMA: Khabib vs. McGregor and GSP vs. Diaz. Winners face off. That stalled. And now Khabib wants GSP — https://t.co/Jlb9FsblbL pic.twitter.com/IOzEg2pGSH
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) June 2, 2018
St-Pierre, the former long-time 170lbs champion, has repeatedly toyed with the idea of dropping to lightweight and while UFC President Dana White made no secret of his desire to pair GSP up with Diaz, that fight looks like it’s no longer on the table.
The undefeated Nurmagomedov, who claimed the 155lbs title two months ago, has now set his sights on St-Pierre amid the lack of clarity on McGregor’s fighting future.
“We believe the fight to make is the Georges St-Pierre fight at 155lbs,” Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz told MMA Fighting.
“Khabib wants to fight for legacy and not for a soap opera drama show, and we think Conor doesn’t deserve this opportunity. The guy hasn’t fought in almost two years. Why does he deserve to fight for the title? He should get his ass back in the line and work his way up.”