Nurmagomedov came out on top of their first meeting a little under two years ago, submitting McGregor in the fourth round of their UFC 252 main event in a fight which was bookended by furious outbursts from both fighters – one in a parking lot in Brooklyn, and the other outside the cage moments after McGregor’s submission. 

READ MORE: ‘Four of our team will be fighting’: Khabib says UFC 254 comeback will be family affair

Both men have cultivated the rivalry ever since, with McGregor keen to secure a rematch with the Russian champion. Khabib, though, wasn’t quite so forthcoming with the idea of a sequel, at one point telling McGregor that he must win 10 fights in a row to be considered for a rematch.

However, it seems that Khabib’s demands have cooled and he admitted in a press conference in Moscow early Friday that he feels a second meeting with McGregor is likely – or maybe even inevitable.

Before the fight with [Edson] Barbosa, they said that he was my most uncomfortable rival, then they said the same thing before the fight with Conor, then with [Dustin] Poirier,” Nurmagomedov announced to the media.

They didn’t have time to say that about Iaquinta, because they gave me a fight in a few hours. I am sympathetic to this, but journalists need to say something, to warm up their interest in battle. 

But I kind of agree that Gaethje is a very good fighter, if he was bad he would not have fought for the belt. Is he better standing than Conor? I think no. My fighting IQ tells me that Conor is better in standing than Gaethje.”

The undefeated Khabib will make his latest defense of the UFC’s 155-pound title in October against Gaethje. If he is successful, he says a second fight with McGregor is a distinct possibility – on one condition.

Let him come back (and) defeat Dustin Poirier, then we will fight with him – no problem,” he Nurmagomedov. 

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