145-pound king Ilia Topuria ready to close the book on Conor McGregor’s legendary UFC career: ‘It is time’

145-Pound king Ilia Topuria ready to close the book on Conor McGregor's iconic UFC career: 'I believe that it is time'

Ilia Topuria hopes to be the one to close out Conor McGregor’s final chapter in the UFC.

‘El Matador’ sent shockwaves through the UFC fanbase with a stunning second-round knockout of Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298 to claim the featherweight world title.

Ilia Topuria defeats Volkanovski at UFC 298

Since then, Topuria has been angling for a big-money fight with Irish megastar Conor McGregor.

Despite his recent callouts, Topuria made it clear that he has nothing, but respect for McGregor and what the former two-division champion has done for the sport. However, the new 145-pound king says it’s his turn to take the reigns and he plans to start by closing the book on McGregor’s storied career.

“First and foremost, in terms of making our sport known, he is the perfect character,” Topuria said during a recent interview in his home country. “My goal right now is to expand the sport. I want to expand the sport as much as I can and the more people know about it, the better it is. It is the work that I want to do, and precisely for the new generation, for myself, and for the sport — which is what I do, and the passion and love that I have for it.

“He represents a chapter in MMA and I believe that it is time for that chapter of that season to close and a new one to begin. I do think that fighting him, beating him would be like leaving him in the season behind.”

ilia Topuria confirms talks are already underway for the uFC’s first event in Spain

Immediately following Ilia Topuria’s title-winning performance last month, UFC CEO Dana White confirmed that the promotion would begin discussions for an event in Spain where Topuria resides. Asked for an update on those plans, ‘El Matador’ revealed that talks are already well underway.

“We have a meeting at noon to carry out the entire UFC Spain project,” Topuria said. “It is a fairly complex project, but steps are being taken. If it is going to be Conor, I don’t know. It wouldn’t surprise me at all. And if it’s not him, I’ll fight someone else and I think that Conor will already be in the season behind.”

Ilia Topuria

As for when we could see the UFC head to Spain for the first time in its 30+ year history, Topuria offered a potential timeline.

“I would start counting from summer onwards,” he added.

Though no official details have been revealed, all signs point toward the event going down inside Santiago Bernabéu — the iconic home stadium of Real Madrid since its completion in 1947.

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Ilia Topuria to potentially fight at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid

With his win over Alexander Volkanovski in Anaheim, Ilia Topuria moved to a perfect 15-0 in his mixed martial arts career with his last seven victories coming inside the Octagon. He has finished all, but two of his opponents, including five knockouts and eight wins by way of submission.

Even if Topuria can’t lure Conor McGregor into a fight, he has a host of contenders waiting for an opportunity at the top of the featherweight division — chief among them being Brian Ortega who is coming off a big win against former interim champion Yair Rodriguez in February. And, of course, there’s always Max Holloway, a former champion and perennial contender who currently sits as the No. 2 ranked fighter in the weight class.

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