UFC 257: McGregor hits back at critical Khabib after Poirier loss
Conor McGregor responded to criticism by Khabib Nurmagomedov after his UFC 257 defeat to Dustin Poirier by challenging the Russian to come out of retirement.
Conor McGregor has challenged Khabib Nurmagomedov to "go again" after the retired lightweight champion hit out at the Irishman following his UFC 257 loss to Dustin Poirier.
Poirier beats McGregor with second-round knockout in Abu Dhabi
Poirier became the first man to knock out former featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor following a flurry of punches to the head in the second round in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Nurmagomedov was in attendance and Dana White said the Russian told him he was "so many levels above these guys" after informing the UFC president he needed to see "something spectacular" to be tempted out of retirement.
Following McGregor's defeat, Nurmagomedov tweeted: "This is what happened [sic], when you change your team, leave the sparring partners who made you a champion and sparring with little kids, far away from reality."
McGregor was submitted by Khabib at UFC 229 in October 2018, a fight that was overshadowed by a post-bout brawl outside the Octagon. The fight with Poirier was only his second since then.
McGregor urges Khabib to return to Octagon: "I'm ready for it"
Asked if he had a response to Nurmagomedov's remarks, McGregor said: "My team has been the team since day one, I've not changed anything. It is what it is, respect the athletes. That's the character for the man for sure, behind the mask.
"What's he wanna do? Does he wanna come back or no? Because he's not throwing any leg kicks. I got up off the ground against Dustin, I turned Dustin. Look at little pockets of that sequence.
"Styles make fights, every fight is a different fight. That's why all this prestige people try and hold onto, I don't hold onto that. Whether someone has multiple wins or multiple losses, every fight between every man is different. That's it.
"Dustin's style played into it today. He has the durability, he has the experience and he has that leg kick in his arsenal now. I'll adjust and keep going.
"But if he [Nurmagomedov] wants to have his disrespectful comments, come back and let's go again my man. I'm ready for it. That's fighting talk. If you're coming back, come back."
UFC chief unsure if McGregor hungry enough to continue
McGregor has lost two of his past three fights in UFC and White predicted the 32-year-old will either become hungrier for more success or leave the sport behind.
"There's two ways this goes, hungrier or 'I'm done.' He's got the money," said White. "It's like 'Rocky III', when you get off a 310-foot yacht, you're living that good life, it's tough to be a savage when you're living like he lives and has the money that he has. On his way up he was a young, hungry kid and he wanted nice things … he's got everything he ever wanted now, so I don't know."
"For sure we'll go again": McGregor keen for another Poirier fight
McGregor, however, suggested there are still a number of battles that interest him. "I'll certainly regroup and pick myself up, get up off the floor and go again and that's it. Styles make fight and there's many great stylistic matches out there," he said.
"Myself and Dustin are 1-1, myself and Nate [Diaz] are 1-1. There's many good match-ups for me and I'll adopt a different approach for the trilogy with Dustin because those leg kicks are not to be messed with – the low calf kick I've never experienced that and it was a good one."
He added: "It's heartbreaking [to lose]. It's hard to take. The highest highs and the lowest lows in this game. My leg is completely dead and even though I thought I was checking them it was just sinking into the muscle at the front of the leg and it was badly compromised. It's like an American football in my shoe at the minute. It is what it is. Dustin fought a hell of a fight.
"I have no excuses here. It was a phenomenal performance from Dustin. I'll go back and watch the full fight and get a better grasp on it, but the leg was compromised, and I was rushing the shots a little bit and I didn't adjust. That's that. It's a bitter pill to swallow.
"Me and Dustin now are 1-1. For sure we'll go again."