He’s been to watch his local football club Anzhi Makhachkala play, he’s called out boxing legend Floyd Mayweather and he’s even fought a bear.

Following his explosive UFC 229 victory over Conor McGregor — and even more explosive brawl afterwards — Khabib Nurmagomedov has been a busy man.

Eleven months after he flew over the octagon’s fence and jumped into a throng of people looking to fight McGregor’s team, the Russian will make his long-awaited comeback following his nine-month suspension as he faces Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi on September 7 at UFC 242.

But due to the tempestuous end to their fight, rumors have been rife that a Nurmagomedov-McGregor rematch could be on the cards.

However, having successfully defended his UFC lightweight championship title against McGregor, Nurmagomedov isn’t pushing for a rematch.

“He tapped. I make him tired and he tapped,” he told Becky Anderson for CNN’s Connect the World.

“And people understand his level, people understand my level. I do everything what I want. I stand up with him, I wrestled with him, I grappled with him, he tapped.

“I don’t feel like I have to improve something inside the cage with him. And we have a lot of good contenders who deserve a title shot, and I’m going to fight with other opponents.”

Respect

While McGregor is known for his hard-hitting, high-flying style in the octagon, it was his trash talking outside the ring that shot him to stardom.

And it’s fair to say that after their war of words ahead of their Las Vegas fight, Nurmagomedov and McGregor aren’t the best of friends.

While exchanging barbs is commonplace nowadays ahead of UFC fights, Nurmagomedov thought McGregor crossed a line with his insults, explaining his volatile reaction to winning in Las Vegas.

And although he acknowledges that trash talking is now part of the UFC, the undefeated fighter believes that by mentioning his family, religion and parents, McGregor caused him a “big disrespect.”

“If people try to give me respect, I’m going to give them respect,” the 30-year-old said. “If they go crazy with me, I’m going to go crazy with them.

“And UFC think I’m just a nice guy or something like this. I’m a nice guy to who’s nice with me. If people [are] not nice with me, I’m not a nice guy.”

September 06, 2019 - CNN