UFC lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov has been anxiously awaiting his first title defense and all signs are pointed towards a showdown with former champion Conor McGregor later this year.
On Thursday, McGregor cleared the legal hurdles standing in the way of his return to action after he reached a plea agreement with prosecutors stemming from his assault on a bus ahead of UFC 223 in Brooklyn.
McGregor led the assault that left two fighters — Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg — injured and unable to compete along with a UFC employee, who retired medical attention after the melee. Ironically enough, McGregor’s tirade was aimed at Nurmagomedov after the Russian wrecking machine was involved in an altercation with Artem Lobov earlier in the same week.
The end result of the attack on the bus was McGregor pleading guilty to one count of disorderly conduct and he’s now required to undergo anger management classes as well as five days of community service.
In terms of his fighting career, McGregor is now free and clear to resume negotiations with the UFC on his return to action with tentative plans in place for him to face Nurmagomedov later this year.
Following the news of McGregor being cleared of his legal charges, Nurmagomedov’s manager addressed the potential lightweight showdown.
“There’s no more talking. This is the Khabib show now,” Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz said in a statement issued to MMAWeekly.com on Thursday. “To be honest the way I feel about it, Conor would be much safer in jail.
“If this fight happens the person who would execute the community service is Khabib by giving this ass whooping for the people.”
There’s little doubt that the fight between Nurmagomedov and McGregor would be the biggest of the year in the UFC no matter when it takes place.
There have been rumors that the fight could take place as early as October at UFC 229 or potentially at UFC 230 in New York a month later.
As of now, nothing is set in stone but obviously it appears all roads lead to an eventual showdown between Nurmagomedov and McGregor later this year.