- Conor McGregor must fight a ranked lightweight and win before Khabib Nurmagomedov deems him a worthy challenger to his UFC title.
- That is according to Nurmagomedov himself, who believes there are worthier opponents out there for him to fight.
- Nurmagomedov takes on Dustin Poirier in September and, should he win, appears to favor a bout against Tony Ferguson, rather than McGregor.
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Nurmagomedov dropped McGregor with a thudding overhand in the second round of UFC 229 last October before submitting him with a tight neck crank in the fourth, resulting in a dominant win.
The Russian wrestler is back in action on September 7 when he defends his UFC belt against Dustin Poirier, a fighter who has been on a terrifying run, winning five since a knockout loss to Michael Johnson in 2016.
But Poirier is not the only in-form lightweight as Tony Ferguson is unbeaten in 12 fights, and could engage Nurmagomedov in a 50-50 fight.
This is not lost on Nurmagomedov, who believes there are more worthy opponents to give a title shot to than McGregor, who has seemingly dropped down the line because he has not won a fight since 2016.
“I’m champion. I know what I deserve. I know what opponents deserve,” Nurmagomedov told BT Sport.
“Right now, Dustin and Tony on the line. Even if you talk about people who deserve, Conor is not on the list. He have to deserve.”
McGregor was linked with a fight against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone earlier in the year, but stalled on the bout so Cerrone went on to fight Ferguson, losing by doctor’s stoppage after a slobberknocker for the ages earlier this month.
McGregor is yet to return following his loss to Nurmagomedov, who says he is not deserving of a shot at his championship belt until he takes on a ranked fighter and wins.
“Last time he win, 2016,” Nurmagomedov said. “We talk about fight for the title, being best in the world. Please deserve. Come back and fight with someone and deserve this. No problem.
“But right now, a lot of tough and good opponents who have good win streak, they deserve.”