Conor McGregor stormed back into the Octagon in January, wrecking Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone just 40 seconds into their UFC 246 main event in Las Vegas. He and UFC president Dana White immediately proclaimed him a contender to the UFC lightweight title held by Khabib Nurmagomedov.
White has since insisted that Nurmagomedov is the logical next fight for McGregor, but he’s not so certain that McGregor will wait around to fight the champion.
Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor by way of a fourth-round submission at UFC 229 in October of 2018. He has expressed little interest in fighting McGregor again, instead moving on to new challenges.
Nurmagomedov is currently booked to defend his belt against Tony Ferguson in the UFC 249 main event on April 18 in Brooklyn, N.Y. White repeated in an interview with TMZ Sports that should Nurmagomedov win, he’d likely be next for McGregor, but also repeated his uncertainty that McGregor would wait on the sidelines for the Nurmagomedov bout.
McGregor has said that he wants to fight at least three times in 2020, so he’d likely have to fight again this summer to make a third fight happen in the fall.
Even if Nurmagomedov wins on April 18, it will likely be some time before he returns to the Octagon, as he annually steps away from the sport to observe the Islamic holiday of Ramadan, which includes fasting, amongst other practices. In 2020, Ramadan lasts from April 23 to May 23 in the U.S.
That might appear to put him on the path to fighting during the summer, but Nurmagomedov would likely need some time to get back into full fighting shape and to have a full camp to prepare for the fight.
If McGregor is serious about fighting at least three times in 2020, he may have to take another fight before he gets a rematch with Nurmagomedov. He has recently been rumored to be in negotiations for a fight with Justin Gaethje.
(Video Courtesy of TMZSports)