Talk of a rematch between UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor has recently been revived once again, this time by members of the Russian's team, who are offering their nation's capital as the location.
As of right now, there's one specific fight that needs to be made over all others. And that's the long-awaited matchup between the streaking lightweight kings, Tony Ferguson and current UFC champ Nurmagomedov. That fight is the priority No. 1 fight in all of MMA.
The UFC works in mysterious ways... especially when a certain Irishman is involved. And for the past three years, that Irishman has had his name repeated on numerous occasions as a player atop the 155-pound ranks - no matter how inactive he's been.
Conor McGregor is the golden goose and still arguably the face of the UFC, as much as the community might no longer want to admit it. His popularity remains in another stratosphere when compared to all others. And as long as that's the case, some special treatment is always a possibility.
Whether or not McGregor fights again before a potential title shot or rematch with Nurmagomedov, if the rematch does happen, it should happen in one specific location.
As Khabib would say, "send location."
And this isn't too assume that McGregor will skip over Ferguson as Nurmagomedov's next challenger... but crazier things have happened.
Whether it's next, later, or never, it all remains to be determined. But if it happens, this is why Nurmagomedov vs McGregor 2 should be in Moscow, Russia.
Since suffering his fourth-round submission defeat to "The Eagle," "The Notorious" McGregor has made it painfully clear that he wants to get a rematch with the undefeated Russian.
Every time the first fight is mentioned to him on Twitter or in person, he generally has a typical brash response for it that alludes to things going differently the next time they meet. Sometimes he doesn't even need to be provoked as evidenced by his tweet following Khabib's win over Dustin Poirier.
Book my rematch for Moscow.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) 7 СЃРµРЅС‚СЏР±СЂСЏ 2019 Рі.
Even McGregor's coach, John Kavanagh has recently expressed his interest in traveling to the Sambo master's homeland.
Despite it being so illogical, can you blame the guy? Their first fight was the biggest fight in MMA history from a numbers standpoint and the rematch would only be bigger. And imagine it being on Nurmagomedov's home turf. That might not even be the safest of options after seeing how things ended at UFC 229.
On top of that, it's a title fight. The man wants to remain in the title picture for as long as he can. And as for a competitive spirit, McGregor does possess a rather strong one. Let's not forget that this is the same guy who demanded an instant rematch with Nate Diaz at welterweight. A weight that their first fight was only at because it was on short notice.
With UFC 243 set to take place tomorrow night, it's projected to break the all-time UFC attendance record of 56,214 that was set by UFC 193 in 2015. Both events will have taken place in Melbourne, Australia's Marvel Stadium.
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Now, we can assume that Nurmagomedov vs McGregor 2 would be huge, no matter which venue hosted it... but you better believe the UFC would want to magnify it to its maximum potential.
To do that, they could put the bout in the Luzhniki Stadium, which holds a total capacity of 81,000. With Nurmagomedov's popularity continuing to skyrocket in his home country, it wouldn't be shocking to see any fight he was in that took place in this stadium sell out. Put him against McGregor specifically and it's practically a guarantee that there will be no seat left unattended. This just means more and more dollar signs for the UFC.
Another thing that can practically be guaranteed is Nurmagomedov getting his wish of fighting in Russia before he calls it a career. In fact, he probably won't retire until that does happen. But if that is secretly the case... don't let Dana White know. Otherwise, he'll try to push it back for as long as he can so that Nurmagomedov continues to fight for several years.
But in all seriousness, Nurmagomedov DOES want to fight at home again and as a champion now, it makes all the sense in the world.
For the reigning lightweight ruler, it's been eight years since he has competed at home and that was directly before he debuted in the UFC in January 2012.
After seeing the success of Nurmagomedov's appearance in Abu Dhabi as well as the other championship bouts that have taken place in newer markets such as China, there's no reason to believe that Nurmagomedov WON'T be fighting in Russia before he retires.
Perhaps the most important reason why a Nurmagomedov-McGregor rematch could happen in Moscow is that Dana White likes the idea. If the boss likes the idea and all parties are down to do it, there's nothing really from stopping it.
Just look back at how absolutely excited Dana got when McGregor was still the champion, mentioning that he wanted to fight Khabib in Russia. That may have actually been the happiest we've ever seen him. And whether you believe McGregor actually said that or not, Dana very clearly loves the idea of it.
Now, getting back to what's most likely next for the lightweight title landscape, it's safe to assume that the fight with Tony Ferguson will be attempted for an incredible fifth time. And rightfully so. Assuming that Nurmadomedov does what he does best and comes out victorious once again, he'll be 29-0. That means we would quite possibly be looking at just one more fight for the Dagestani destroyer.
And with that comes only two legitimate possible final opponents. The first being the opponent Nurmagomedov and his team has been wanting for a while now, that being the legendary Georges St-Pierre.
However, St-Pierre is currently officially retired and out of the USADA testing pool. For him to return, he'll need to get back into the testing pool for six months... Unless he receives an exemption. One way or another, there's a lot of unpredictability surrounding the St-Pierre matchup but one thing is for certain and it's that it likely wouldn't be happening until mid-2020 at the earliest. Which for all we know could be too late for "The Eagle" to keep waiting around.
And because of that, it leaves the Irishman. Khabib's father, Abdulmanap, said it himself, "If McGregor wants it, Moscow is waiting." Thus suggesting that perhaps Khabib and company are changing their tune in regards to the potential rematch.
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Whether we ever see the pair in the Octagon together again is anyone's guess. But if we do, it should definitely be on the champion's home soil.