Khabib Nurmagomedov v Conor McGregor rematch would be 'biggest fight in combat sports history' - UFC president Dana White

Lightweight champion is preparing to face No 1-contender Tony Ferguson but talk persists of another fight against McGregor

Las Vegas , United States - 6 October 2018; Conor McGregor, left, in action against Khabib Nurmagomedov in their UFC lightweight championship fight during UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
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UFC president Dana White says a potential rematch between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor would be the "biggest fight in combat sports history".

Nurmagomedov, the unbeaten lightweight champion, defeated his bitter rival on a contentious and controversial night in October 2018, when the enmity sparked a post-fight brawl between the two camps. It led to hefty fines and suspensions for both fighters.

McGregor, a former two-weight champion, did not return to the octagon until this January, where he announced his comeback to the sport in spectacular fashion with a 40-second knockout of Donald Cerrone.

White has already suggested McGregor is next in line for a shot at the lightweight crown, which Nurmagomedov defends against Tony Ferguson in next month’s hotly anticipated clash in Brooklyn.

The Dagestan native last fought in September, where he defeated Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi to take his professional mixed-martial arts record to 28-0.

Should Nurmagomedov comes through against the dangerous Ferguson, the No 1-ranked challenger, then the clamour for a second fight with McGregor, who sits third on the list, is sure to only increase.

White said he expects the rematch to prove even more lucrative than McGregor’s boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr in August 2017, which reportedly drew 4.3 million domestic pay-per-view buys - the second highest in history. The 2015 fight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao generated 4.6m.

Speaking early Sunday in Las Vegas at the post-fight conference to UFC 248, White said: “I can’t look into the future and say ‘Oh this fight’s definitely going to happen. It’s all determined by whether guys win or lose. And as guys continue to win, it builds the next fight and builds the next fight, and we’ll see what’s next.

“Conor, we’re trying to figure out if he wants to fight again or is going to wait, or what’s going to happen. So I really don’t have any answers. And you’ve got to see what happens with Khabib and Tony.

“But if that thing played out, Conor versus Khabib would be the biggest fight ever in the history of combat sports. I’m not just talking UFC. Ever. It would beat Floyd versus Conor.”

While Nurmagomedov-McGregor II would undoubtedly be hugely popular, the Russian’s manager Ali Abdelaziz told ESPN this weekend: "If Khabib wins on April 18, Conor McGregor is not getting a title shot - simple.

"Dana White is the best promoter of all time because he understands fighting and matchmaking. The only way Conor McGregor can fight for a title is if he beats someone like Justin Gaethje. If he were to do that, it would be hard to deny him."

American Gaethje, the No 4-ranked challenger, has been tipped to take on McGregor this summer.