UFC legend Chuck Liddell believes lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov may be wary about facing Conor McGregor in a rematch.
Nurmagomedov dominated McGregor when they clashed in the UFC 229 headliner back in October 2018 which resulted in a fourth-round submission victory. McGregor has since declared that he didn’t have the right training camp leading up to the fight and has regularly campaigned for a rematch.
UFC president Dana White has also been open to a rematch. The fans, however, along with Nurmagomedov don’t seem as enthusiastic about it. For one, most in the mixed martial arts world want to see Nurmagomedov finally face Tony Ferguson.
“The Eagle” also seems to remain uninterested in fighting McGregor again despite a sequel likely to guarantee his biggest career payday yet. But for Liddell, it may be because he’s worried about facing a better McGregor on the night.
“In the last fight, I think he [McGregor] did what he needed to do to have a shot at beating Khabib,” Liddell told talkSPORT. “The problem was he was tired by the third round and he had nothing left behind his punches. He got Khabib a little tired and he had a chance to throw and he just had nothing left to knock him out.
“So if he can make it through those first two rounds and still have that snap he’s got, he can take a shot at him. It doesn’t seem like Khabib wants to give him a shot… and that doesn’t make sense unless Khabib is worried about getting beat. Maybe Khabib is worried about Conor getting better and beating him, I don’t know.”
While that is highly debatable, Liddell joins many in wanting to see Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson which he sees as an intriguing matchup given the latter’s abilities.
“And I’d love to see Tony vs Khabib,” Liddell added. “I love Khabib, he’s a great fighter, man, but I think Tony matches up perfectly with him. He’ll probably take Tony down for the first couple of rounds, but Tony will make him work and make him work to take him down.
“And the thing is, Tony doesn’t get tired. When they come out for the third round and Khabib is starting to get tired and Tony is not, he’s going to have a real tough time taking him down at that point. He’s had a little bit of trouble in the third round in the past, trying to get his breath back before he takes guys down again. We’ll see. He’s evolving all the time, working all the time, too.”
Do you agree with Liddell?