UFC Will Book a McGregor vs Nurmagomedov Rematch in 2019, If ….
The biggest MMA event of 2018 saw the return of Conor McGregor as he fought the lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Unfortunately for the legion of McGregor fans, the fight didn’t go as expected.
Conor McGregor lost via submission in the 4th round. Nurmagomedov thoroughly dominated McGregor in the fight. In fact, the most excitement came after the main event was over as Khabib jumped out of the cage and sparked a brawl in the crowd. His actions made UFC 229 one of the most memorable moments in MMA history.
Since that fight on October 6th, MMA fans have been clamoring for a rematch. Conor McGregor has spearheaded the charge for a rematch. UFC President Dana White pumped the breaks on an immediate rematch and discussed other options for both fighters.
With that said, Dana White is singing a different tune in 2019. According to an interview with TMZ Sports, White commented on the likelihood of a rematch between Conor and Khabib this year:
“Yeah, I do. Obviously, guys are going to have to win and it depends how long the suspensions are, but yeah, as long as everything goes right this fight should happen.”
What Dana White is referring to when he mentions “as long as everything goes right” is the following conditions:
Nevada State Athletic Commission Investigation
First and foremost, the UFC needs to see what happens with the NSAC’s investigation into the UFC 229 post-fight brawl. Both fighters are facing suspensions and fines that could seriously impact their 2019 fight plans. The investigation came about rather quickly with Nurmagomedov getting the brunt of the immediate backlash.
The general consensus among MMA pundits and outlets is that Nurmagomedov will get the lengthier suspension, but should only be for a few months. McGregor’s suspension, if any, will be far less. It’s doubtful that the NSAC will make a groundbreaking ruling on this investigation, which some MMA critics believe should happen.
Winning Other Fights First
Following their suspensions, both McGregor and Nurmagomedov will have to fight other opponents first. For Khabib, this almost certainly means a bout against Tony Ferguson who also fought at UFC 229.
Dana White and the UFC have tried three times before to make a Ferguson vs Nurmagomedov fight and it never came to fruition. Now that Khabib has dispatched of McGregor, Ferguson has become the top challenger.
For McGregor, any number of fights could take place:
- Donald Cerrone – The Cowboy has been lobbying for a McGregor fight. Cerrone takes on Hernandez at UFC Fight Night on Jan 19th. Afterward, he wants a shot at McGregor. Currently, MyBookie has McGregor listed as a -185 favorite over Cerrone at +150.
- Al Iaquinta – Following his big win over Kevin Lee at UFC on Fox 31, Al’s team want a shot at McGregor, which I believe should be Conor’s next fight. Khabib vs Ferguson and McGregor vs Iaquinta would set up an unofficial tournament for the lightweight title.
- Max Holloway – the UFC featherweight champ is looking into the possibility of making the jump up to lightweight. He’s been on a tear as of late and would make a great opponent for McGregor or any of the other strikers in the division.
Of course, the UFC could go in a completely different direction by finding someone else to fight Conor like a Diaz trilogy fight.
Final Thoughts on McGregor vs Nurmagomedov 2
MMA betting sites have once again rolled out their UFC future bet of a rematch between Nurmagomedov and McGregor. Currently online betting sites like MyBookie has Khabib as a big favorite with a line of -300. McGregor is a sizeable underdog at +230. I believe these odds are fair, considering how badly Nurmagomedov mauled McGregor in their first fight.
Personally, I would like to see Nurmagomedov vs Ferguson over a rematch with McGregor. I believe Ferguson matches up better with Khabib than Conor does. Additionally, I really think that Tony Ferguson has a shot at defeating Khabib.
Additionally, I think Iaquinta deserves a rematch against Khabib as he put up a good fight on short notice versus Nurmagomedov. I believe he will have more success in a rematch than McGregor.
If Conor isn’t going to fight Iaquinta next then I would love to see him against Cerrone. It would be an exciting fight and one that most MMA fans would enjoy. However, despite Dana White’s comments that a rematch between Conor and Khabib should take place in 2019, we will need to wait until the NSAC’s investigation is over first.
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