When Conor McGregor pushed to have a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, some questioned whether he would return to fighting in the UFC.
Once the bout was signed and announced for Aug. 26, UFC President Dana White said he believed the lightweight champion would make his return to the Octagon and hopefully before the end of the year.
Now it seems McGregor has expressed a desire to White to return to MMA after this summer’s high-profile boxing match. The brash fighter even picked an opponent and location, according to the UFC boss.
“He said, ‘I want Khabib in Russia,’” White said of McGregor in an interview with MMAjunkie. “Isn’t he (expletive) awesome? He’s like, ‘I want Khabib, in Russia.’ He’s awesome. Conor McGregor is a (expletive) unicorn. There’s nothing like him. He’s working on boxing Floyd Mayweather and then he’s talking about fighting Khabib in Russia right after.”
McGregor, who earned the UFC lightweight title with a win over Eddie Alvarez, made history by earning that strap while also holding the UFC featherweight belt. His reign over two divisions lasted only a couple weeks, however, because the UFC stripped him of the 145-pound crown a short while later.
After the lightweight championship was his, McGregor pushed to make a boxing match with Mayweather happen. The UFC, a promotion that has been largely reluctant to co-promote anything outside of their popular Octagon, ultimately agreed to allow their fighter to enter competition with Mayweather. White has been public about the reason why — there’s just too much money on the table to pass up.
But the boxing match has made for tension in the UFC’s 155-pound ranks. Top contenders like Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson have been vocal in their criticisms of McGregor. The lightweight champ has done little to acknowledge the grievances aired by fighter in the division, even when some have called for vacating the belt.
With White’s news that McGregor wants Nurmagomedov following Mayweather, the talk of vacating belts might start to die out. While nothing is signed or official, McGregor usually gets what he wants, and that might just culminate in a showdown with Nurmagomedov in Russia.
It’s these things — testing this generation’s arguably best boxer, and then returning to fight one of MMA’s best — that make McGregor what he is, according to White.
“Those are the kind of things that make that kid a (expletive) superstar,” he said. “How do you not love him?! How do you not love Conor McGregor?!”