Khabib Nurmagomedov was finally crowned the UFC’s lightweight champion last night after a five round domination of late replacement Al Iaquinta and he immediately began to talk about who he would like to defend the title against next.
Interestingly, despite everything that’s happened this week, Nurmagomedov didn’t single out Conor McGregor first as the man he’d most like to face.
instead, ‘The Eagle’ indicated that his dream is to fight former welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre next.
“It’s like Georges St. Pierre said, ‘Even when you are a black belt, you have to think like a white belt.’ And now, I want to fight Georges St-Pierre in November at Madison Square Garden,” Nurmagomedov said in his post-fight interview.
Later, Nurmagomedov went on to elaborate on why he is so keen to fight GSP.
“I remember when I grew up, 11, 12 years ago, (when I was in the) Junior Combat Sambo Dagestan championships, he fight for UFC title,” Nurmagomedov told the assembled media. “When I grew up, I watch his all fights with my father. He is greatest athlete who ever fight in UFC.
“Middleweight and welterweight champion. I hear he wanna fight and come to 155, take this belt, make history, be UFC three-division champion. Why not? Me vs. Georges St-Pierre. Only respect.”
However, St-Pierre later responded to Nurmagomedov’s request and it doesn’t sound as if he’s in a rush to take him up on that offer.
“I feel UFC and Khabib got unfinished business before I try to make a step in here to go for the 155 title,” GSP told Ariel Helwani.
Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov has also indicated that he does believe that he’s got unfinished business with McGregor and he is interested in fighting him in the Octagon in the near future.
“We have to finish this beef,” Nurmagomedov said at the UFC 223 post-fight press conference. “Beef, chicken, or something like this. He have to stop eat Burger Kings and — you want to fight? Come. I told you guys, we’re gonna make him humble. I told you guys, I’m gonna change this game. Now, only one champion. No more fake champions. No more champion who never defend his title, or something like this. Now, UFC have champion, and this champion want to defend his title. You want to fight? Come here.
“Inside the cage, come. Outside the cage, let me know without camera, without all this media. Like men. He come when a lot of security here, outside the bus, inside the bus, security here, don’t let me go out. Like, he try to, ‘Hey, come out,’ like this. Why you need this show up? Let me know and that’s it, any time.”
However, despite his willingness to fight him behind closed doors, if Nurmagomedov gets his way then they will instead go toe-to-toe in the Octagon with the world watching.
“I hope he’s gonna fight. We have to fight. Make world tour everywhere, Tokyo, Moscow, Dublin, Los Angeles, Rio. Big world tour, promote this fight, and fight end of the year, biggest arena in the world, Madison Square Garden. Why not? Or maybe in Zaire or Philippines. Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter, I’m here. He want to become lightweight champion? He have to fight with me. Now, no more this all fake champions. You guys remember when he put tweet, ‘Beg me.’ Please, beg me.
“We have to finish this. It’s going to be very big fight. It’s going to be very big fight, I think. Let’s go. I am ready for this. November, September in Moscow, November in New York. Any time. Let’s go. Let’s fight in Africa or somewhere. I am here.”