Report: Khabib Nurmagomedov Has a “Fire Burning” Now That he Didn’t Have For Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier Bouts

Although the lead-up to Khabib Nurmagomedov's bout with Conor McGregor was one of the most intense and ugly in MMA history, the champ's reportedly more motivated for his upcoming scrap with Tony Ferguson.

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s fight with Conor McGregor was one of the biggest in MMA history, and included a nasty, dark lead-up to the bout. But, according to a recent report, the UFC’s lightweight champ said he lacked motivation for his fight with McGregor, as well as his recent bout with Dustin Poirier.

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Nurmagomedov has a “fire burning” to fight Tony Ferguson

As you likely know, recently it was reported that Nurmagomedov and Ferguson are scheduled to fight on April 18th in Brooklyn. The booking has materialized after weeks of speculation as to when and if the lightweight stars will fight.

Well, recently Nurmagomedov was in Dagestan and while speaking to the media, he reportedly said this (quotes via MMA Rus Context):

“I will train hard. With every fight, I gain more and more experience. I’m getting older, I am 31. I think it’s the peak age of fighters career.”

And to be honest, I lacked this motivation for my last fights. (Al) Iaquinta, Conor (McGregor), (Edson) Barboza, (Dustin) Poirier. They’re not the same as Tony Ferguson. That’s why I feel that fire burning inside me again.”

Are the comments surprising?

Due to the awe-inspiring run Ferguson has been on (a 12 fight winning streak) and his abilities, it’s not shocking to hear that Khabib is extremely motivated to fight “El Cucuy”. On paper, it has the potential to be one of the greatest lightweight fights in history.

But, if Khabib really wasn’t too motivated to fight Conor last October, that’s pretty surprising to hear. Sure, his boosters might argue that Khabib knew he would be able to dominate the fight via his wrestling and top game (which he pretty much did). But, as noted above, the lead-up to Nurmagomedov – McGregor was extremely heated and ugly (largely due to statements McGregor made).

Poirier and Nurmagomedov were fairly respectful toward one another leading up to their bout this past September. It was the same way leading up to Nurmagomedov – Barboza. Iaquinta, meanwhile, was a last minute replacement, after Ferguson had to withdraw from a bout with Khabib in April, 2018, after suffering a freak, knee injury. So, there wasn’t really time for any rivalry to get going.

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