When it comes to the fight sports, no two athletes have polarized fans quite like Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmegomedov.
Since Khabib defeated McGregor in October 2018, he defended his title twice and retired from the sport with a 29-0 record.
However, the UFC’s top man, Dana White, does not think the Russian has hung up his 4oz gloves for good.
White has tipped Khabib for a return to the octagon if his nemesis McGregor can return to the top of the lightweight division.
The reason he would return? According to the UFC boss, Khabib would lace up his gloves out of hatred.
McGregor made an enemy of Nurmagomedov during a media day promoting UFC 223. The Irishman infamously vandalized Khabib’s tour bus after footage emerged of the Russian slapping Artem Lobov, a member of team McGregor.
Following this incident, at UFC 223 Khabib went on to claim the lightweight division title. His first defence? It had to be Conor.
This rivalry had mutated into genuine hatred. When Nurmagomedov had forced McGregor into submission he leapt out of the cage to start another brawl with the Irishman’s teammate Dillon Danis.
The hatred between both the fighters and their team’s is unparalleled.
Which is perhaps why Dana White is so confident that the prospect of tearing the lightweight championship away from Conor McGregor would be enough to reignite the fire in Khabib’s belly.
“Khabib’s not meeting with me for no reason,” White said in recent interview.
“He would say, ‘There’s no need to meet. What’s the point in having a meeting?
“‘Love ya, it’s been great. Thank you, but we don’t need to meet. You know my answer.’ He hasn’t said that, has he?
“I also believe he hates Conor McGregor so bad. The hate that these two have is as real as anything you have ever seen.
“And I believe that if Conor came out of this thing, and Conor was going to be the guy to win the title?
“Now I truly believe that he would fight Conor. I believe that. Maybe I’m wrong but we’ll see how it all plays out.”
There’s a cliche used in fight sports that states you can never retire the fighter inside of you. The recent return to the ring of Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. is the case in point.
But like that bout, the financial reward of a McGregor rematch may also be something that is passing through “The Eagle’s” mind.
Khabib has nothing else to prove in UFC, it’s without doubt he’ll go down as one of the best wrestlers in the sports history and with an undefeated record he can stake a claim for being the best fighter of all time.
With that being said, a fight of this magnitude will not do his legacy any harm. It would without doubt smash box office records and would be the biggest fight the UFC has ever seen.