Khabib Nurmagomedov has expressed his disappointment at what he perceives to be a growing favouritism from the UFC towards Conor McGregor.
Rather controversially, Nurmagomedov was offered two different fights against Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 and UFC 206, but it was McGregor who ended up taking on the American at the showpiece event at Madison Square Garden two weeks ago.
It turns out the UFC’s offer to the Dagestani to face Alvarez was merely a ploy. He ended up fighting Michael Johnson at 205 before issuing an ultimatum: if his next fight wasn’t for a belt, he wouldn’t take to the octagon.
In an interview with RT Sport, Nurmagomedov admitted he feels the UFC are shunning him. In the 28-year-old’s opinion, he was only on the prelims because the UFC don’t want to promote him.
"I felt good because [whether] the UFC puts me on the main card or prelims, it doesn't matter. You have to fight,” he said.
“Main card cage closes the same in prelims, same cage closes... But I think UFC put me in prelims because they don't want to make my name as big because they have to take care of Conor. They don't want to promote my name very good."
Nurmagomedov: 'I will make McGregor give up'
Nurmagomedov has an unbeaten record and a number one ranking in the lightweight division, so you can understand his frustration.
The Eagle is desperate for the fight against McGregor that he feels he deserves. Should he ever get the chance to take on the newly-crowned lightweight champion, he knows exactly how the fight will go down.
“For UFC's lightweight division my style is very hard,” Nurmagomedov added. “Because I have pressure, I can take you down - body, single leg, double leg. I have very good conditioning. I know this. To stop me with my style my opponent needs to knock me out.
"Conor is a very good striking guy - everybody knows this. He has very good boxing, timing, his counter-punches are very good. But everybody knows I have a top control, wrestling, pressure. Why I need to stay stand up with him?
"I'm gonna take him down, I'm gonna slap him, make him nervous, talk with him, and make him give up."
Nurmagomedov might be waiting a while
Nurmagomedov was mightily impressive in his win over Johnson in New York, but he might have to wait a while for a chance to claim the lightweight belt.
McGregor is expected to be out until May as he welcomes his first child.
Watch part 1 of Nurmagomedov's interview with RT Sport below.
Who would win in a fight between Nurmagomedov and McGregor? Let us know in the comments section below!