Questions surround what will be next for UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov if he gets through his UFC 242 title unification main event with Dustin Poirier, and UFC President Dana White says a rematch with Conor McGregor should not be counted out.
The UFC’s lightweight has an incredible depth of talent that also includes former interim champion Tony Ferguson, who is currently on a 12-fight win streak, as well as fan favorites like Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Justin Gaethje and Al Iaquinta. All of the eyes in the lightweight division will be focused on UFC 242, and while some, including Nurmagomedov, want a long-awaited and planned showdown between him and Ferguson, White said in an interview on The Rich Eisen Show a rematch with McGregor cannot be ruled out.
“It would be a massive fight and it’s absolutely possible, yes,” White said. “I think McGregor is gonna come back at the beginning of next year. So, realistically, all these guys are looking at September to see what happens with Khabib and Poirier. After that fight plays out, I think there’s gonna be a lot of movement going on.”
The first fight between Nurmagomedov and McGregor, which took place at UFC 229 in October 2018, broke the record for most UFC pay-per-view buys and saw Nurmagomedov submit McGregor in the fourth round. Following the fight, Nurmagomedov jumped out of the Octagon to attack McGregor’s cornermen, while McGregor got into it inside the Octagon with some of Nurmagomedov’s corner. McGregor would be suspended for six months for the incident, while Nurmagomedov was suspended for nine.
McGregor has not fought since the fighting, retiring and unretiring via social media for a second time in his career and getting into an ugly social media war with Nurmagomedov in early April. McGregor and Cerrone were rumored to fight this year but those negotiations went awry. Cerrone will face Justin Gaethje in a UFC Fight Night card headliner the week following UFC 242.
White now says McGregor could return to the Octagon in early 2020.
White did, however, claim there are many things they could do with the lightweight division that UFC 242 — which also includes Edson Barboza vs. Paul Felder — could affect. White even claimed Georges St Pierre could be a possibility if he truly only retired just because he and Nurmagomedov couldn’t fight.
“It’s a very interesting division because you have Khabib, you have Tony Ferguson, Conor McGregor, Donald Cerrone’s in the mix, Justin Gaethje — there’s just so many unbelievable fights in that weight class and Khabib keeps talking about fighting Georges St. Pierre again,” White said. “St-Pierre retired but when St-Pierre retired, he retired basically saying I won’t if I can fight Khabib. So there’s so many different, crazy, interesting things that we can do at that weight class.”
Quotes via MMA Fighting