Conor McGregor vs Khabib grudge rematch is ‘fight to make’ if Russian beats Justin Gaethje, says UFC chief Dana White

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UFC president Dana White still believes Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov II is the “fight to make”.

But lightweight king Nurmagomedov, 31, would first have to beat interim champion Justin Gaethje, also 31, with a unification set for October.

With unbeaten Khabib targeting a perfect 30-0 record, promoter White was asked who could be the Russian’s next challenger if he defeats Gaethje.

He responded: “He is fighting Gaethje next. I don’t know who his last fight would be to make him 30. I don’t know.

“I mean listen, [on the]Conor McGregor fight. I know Conor has always wanted that fight since the last one, I mean that is the fight to make. 

“I don’t know, we will see how this all plays out. But, the Gaethje one is absolutely, positively the next fight for him.”

McGregor, 32, was beaten in four rounds by nemesis Nurmagomedov in 2018, but a post-fight brawl involving their entourages has fuelled demand of a rematch.

The Irishman retired for the third time in four years last month, having grown frustrated after he was kicked down the title picture during lockdown.

White admitted McGregor could yet return, but it appears Nurmagomedov favours a super-fight with welterweight legend Georges St-Pierre over his former rival.

St-Pierre also retired last year having not fought since 2017, when he won the middleweight belt.

He was denied a lightweight title shot against Khabib, thus leading to his retirement.

But White would honour Nurmagomedov’s wish if he was to ask for a GSP fight to end his career.

He said: “Sure. Yeah, it’s the last fight of his career the guy, the guys been great. 

“He’s been great to the company, he’s been great for the sport.

“And, I like Khabib Nurmagomedov a lot and I would do anything Khabib wanted to do.”

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