McGregor vs Khabib II Likely to Happen Before End of 2019

McGregor vs Khabib II Likely to Happen Before End of 2019

Conor McGregor is odds-on to get the re-match he craves as bookmakers have priced up a 2019 fight with his latest conqueror Khabib Nurmagomedov.

‘The Notorious’ suffered a fourth-round loss – his second in the UFC division following a 2016 defeat to Nate Diaz – via choke submission to his Russian opponent in Las Vegas at the weekend.

The result was somewhat overshadowed by the ugly post-fight scenes after Nurmagomedov leaped out of the octogen and attacked members of McGregor’s camp.

McGregor himself was then targeted by members of Nurmagomedov’s camp as the venue descended into chaos, but despite the unsavoury conclusion the UFC appear willing to do it all over again.

1/5 For 2019 Re-match

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power go as short as 1/5 that McGregor faces Khabib in the UFC next year, despite pressure on UFC president Dana White to strip the Russian of his lightweight belt for sparking the melee.

White seems unlikely to go that far, but he did admit Nurmagomedov is likely to incur a “four to six months suspension” in an interview with TMZ Sports.

Complaints are expected to be filed against both fighters and, according to Lance Pugmire of the LA Times, 10-day suspensions will be issued to McGregor and Nurmagomedov ahead of an investigation into the whole incident.

Any suspensions, short or long-term, would be unlikely to get in the way of a re-match before the end of 2019, which is probably the biggest money-making fight for both McGregor and the UFC.

What Next For McGregor?

Other possible opponents for McGregor include former foes Diaz, with whom a trilogy fight would generate significant numbers, and Jose Aldo, who McGregor defeated in just 13 seconds to pinch the Brazilian’s Featherweight Championship belt in 2015.

Fights against Georges St-Pierre and Tyron Woodley have also been mooted, while Paddy Power are also taking bets on the potential for McGregor to venture into extracurricular activities.

They go 6/1 on the Irishman to step into a boxing ring once more with Floyd Mayweather, as he did in 2017, while it’s 33/1 for the undefeated American to take on McGregor at his own game in MAA before 2019 is through.

The Irish bookmakers also offer 8/1 on McGregor to appear in a Hollywood movie next year, or 12/1 to appear in WWE before the end of 2019.

Doubts Over Khabib Re-match

One factor which could stand in the way of McGregor’s main wish, the rematch with Nurmagomedov, is the consensus that that he was well beaten by the defending champion.

The Russian used his much superior wrestling attributes to wear McGregor down, while he arguably outfought his opponent in the boxing stakes – widely considered the greatest weapon in McGregor’s repertoire.

However, in martial arts, bad blood goes some way to selling fights, and the UFC is no different.

In Saturday’s post-fight press conference, Nurmagomedov apologised for bringing the sport into disrepute, but pointed the finger at McGregor for his enticing him in the build-up to the event.

"He talk about my religion. He talk about my country. He talk about my father,” said Nurmagomedov.

“This is a respect sport, this is not a trash-talking sport … You cannot talk about religion, you cannot talk about a nation, you cannot talk about this stuff. For me, this is very important."

Amid his latest defeat, punters could enjoy favourable odds in McGregor’s next fight, though it remains to be seen if he can still mix it with the elite.