Conor McGregor wasted little time in issuing a challenge to Khabib Nurmagomedov following the Russian's victory over Dustin Poirier at UFC 242, telling the sports powerbrokers to set up a rematch in Moscow.
Nurmagomedov beat Poirier via third-round submission in the main event at The Arena on Yas Island in the early hours of Sunday to extend his mixed martial arts record to 28 wins with no losses.
It was Nurmagomedov's first UFC bout since beating Irishman McGregor in Las Vegas last October when the result was marred by ugly scenes after the bout that landed both fighters receiving lengthy bans and hefty fines.
But McGregor, who has not fought since tapping out to Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, wants to take on his nemesis again.
Following Nurmagomedov's successful defence of his lightweight title in the UAE, McGreogr tweeted: “Book my rematch for Moscow.”
While there is clearly no love lost between McGregor and Nurmagomedov, the conduct in both the buildup and the aftermath of the Poirier fight shone a more flattering light on the sport.
Following the victory in Abu Dhabi, champion Nurmagomedov went straight over the Poirier to lift his opponent's arm in the air as a mark of respect as the crowd cheered.
“Me and Dustin Poirier have showed MMA is about respect not trash-talking,” Nurmagomedov said. He added he wanted to forget the controversy around his previous title defence against McGregor, whom he accused of insulting his family, culture and religion.
The door was opened by UFC president Dana White after he was asked about McGregor receiving a rematch with Nurmagomedov after their first fight was the biggest pay-per-view in company history.
“Tony Ferguson gets the next shot and obviously if for whatever reason Tony can’t take the fight or doesn’t want the fight at that time then we would figure out what was next but Conor would make a lot of sense,” White said.
“Conor McGregor wants that fight really badly and I’m sure the fans would want to see it. So we’ll see how this whole thing plays out.”