UFC news: Khabib Nurmagomedov accuses Conor McGregor of avoiding the best opponents

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Khabib Nurmagomedov has accused his UFC rival Conor McGregor of avoiding high-level opponents to preserve his status as a title contender.

McGregor enjoyed a sensational return to the Octagon last month when he stopped Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in 40 seconds at UFC 246, his first fight since losing to Khabib in October 2018.

The Irishman is currently in talks to fight Justin Gaethje this summer but his long-term goal is a rematch with the lightweight champion who is arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter the sport has ever seen.

We are now just seven weeks away from one of the most anticipated UFC title bouts in history when Khabib and Tony Ferguson finally collide in Brooklyn, New York, to determine the world’s top lightweight fighter.

‘El Cucuy’ is thought to be the only fighter in the division capable of stifling the unique ground attack posed by the Dagestani grappler.

Should Khabib emerge victorious on April 18, a rematch with ‘Notorious’ would be the obvious fight to make, however, ‘The Eagle’ claims his old foe must prove himself against top-tier opponents before he gets a title challenge.

“Cerrone always loses all his main-event fights,” said Khabib, per the Daily Mail.

“I don’t remember when he won. In the last 10 fights, I think he’s lost six or seven times.

Conor McGregor v Donald Cerrone

“He’s not a high-level lightweight or welterweight right now. He’s not. Of course, he has a big name but his time is finished.

“Conor needs to pick better opponents. Now he’s come back and beaten ‘Cowboy,’ who lost seven times in his last 10 fights, and then they talk about this guy being back at his best.

“No, he has to fight really tough opponents like Justin Gaethje or something like this. He has to come back to the lightweight division.

“He has to cut welterweight, and this is just my opinion.

“I think he is just ducking tough matchups.”

Of course, current paths seem to suggest that a second meeting between Khabib and McGregor is inevitable given Dana White’s past statements on the matter, but the Russian fighter says that any second fight will be a mirror of the first, and that he would prefer to take on tougher challenges for the sake of his legacy.

UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor

“I think people just want to see a continuation of what happened last time,” Khabib continued.

“They just want to see drama. If you ask people, ‘Guys, who is going to win?’ 99 percent are going to say Khabib like he did last time. But people want to see how.

“This is not a real lightweight championship fight, but if you talk about drama and money, of course this is good. For my legacy, I have to beat tough opponents.

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