Exclusive: Khabib Nurmagomedov Talks Conor McGregor Fight, Staying Grounded As UFC Champion, and More


UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov appeared to be in a good mood backstage at UFC on Fox 30. On Thursday, Conor McGregor took a plea deal, reducing a potential felony charge to a misdemeanor stemming from the UFC 223 bus attack. As a result, McGregor will face no jail time.


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But soon enough, he will be trapped in a cage with Nurmagomedov. 


Speaking to Fightful's James Lynch and other members of the media, Khabib gave his thoughts on the upcoming contest with the former double champion.


"I want October. November is one month more. I want to catch him."


The targeted date for the lightweight title tilt is UFC 229 on Oct. 6. Khabib said whether the fight happens in October, November, December or even September, he'll be ready.


When asked what he plans to do to McGregor when the cage is closed, Khabib says he has big plans.


"I want Big Drama Show. Little bit of talk with him. I know how we have to do this. Make him tired, make him look bad. First round, he is very dangerous. I know this, everyone knows this. If you think I'm going to stay with him like I stayed with (Al) Iaquinta with my Muhammad Ali jab, no way, brother. I'm going to try to take him down. Even if he defend my takedown, he's going to be tired."


Khabib continued by saying he hopes McGregor watches the Iaquinta fight and expects the same guy when they eventually meet. 


When asked about a potential rematch, the champion doesn't believe it will be possible.


"How we can fight after this fight when I change his face? Even if I have chance with a submission or choke, I'm going to keep punishing him."


The only potential holdup between now and October is money. Khabib believes that he deserves get a big cut of the pay-per-view pie. 


"If they want to use me to make money for UFC and Conor, and I make $200,000 -- I'm not stupid guy." 


Following his title victory at UFC 223 in April, Nurmagomedov openly worried about the belt changing him. He told Lynch that being the champion is not easy, especially when he returns home.


"I'm not perfect, nobody is perfect. Sometime I make mistake, but I try. Being perfect in this life is not easy. When you have so much attention and you become popular and you have money, many things can change your mind. It's very hard to stay humble and stay focussed. 


"Ramadan is always work. When you're fasting and you go to Mosque and praying with all people. It does not matter if you're UFC champion or regular people. For me, it's hard. In Dagestan, everyone knows (I'm champion). That's why it's hard."


Not wanting to keep all the attention on himself, Nurmagomedov praised the performance of teammate Islam Makhachev for his victory over Kajan Johnson.


"Islam has potential to be UFC champion. He needs maybe three or four more fights before becoming number one contender. He is going to do this." 

You can see Fightful's playlist of UFC Calgary interviews at this link.


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