As it appears, former UFC champion Conor McGregor could get his 2018 rematch against lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomdev before April 2021. Khabib's coach Javier Mendez believes if the 'stars align', Khabib vs McGregor 2 could be a real possibility during the first half of next year.
Khabib, who is set to defend his title against interim champ Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, has repeatedly been against the idea of facing Conor McGregor again. On the other hand, The Notorious desperate to get back in the octagon with the Russian, who handed him his fourth career loss in MMA. Despite announcing his retirement back in June, McGregor looks set for his UFC return, with a rematch against Dustin Poirier. The Irishman beat Poirier via Round 1 TKO at UFC 178 in 2014.
Speaking to The Sun, Javier Mendez said, "Think about this - Khabib will not fight past the end of April next year. So if the stars align properly, based off what Conor is saying, then he could want to put himself in that picture for next year. He has to beat Dustin and then obviously that makes sense."
Mendez said if Conor can beat Poirier he could be in line to face Khabib for the title, considering the Russian walks out with the title on October 24. Khabib vs McGregor II could well take place before April 2021. The Russian will be out of action after April 12 due to Ramadan.
McGregor has not been in the UFC lightweight title picture since he lost to Khabib in 2018. Facing each other at UFC 229, McGregor was dominated by Khabib as he scored a Round 4 submission victory over the former two-division UFC champion. Since losing in 2018, McGregor often said he underestimated the Russian and that he won't be making the same mistake the next time they are inside the octagon together.
Despite his efforts to earn a rematch, Khabib has usually stayed away from the idea of a potential rematch. After his win against McGregor, The Eagle beat Dustin Poirier in September last year. He is set for his third title defence at UFC 254 on October 24. Justin Gaethje, 22-2, won the interim belt earlier this year by scoring a TKO win over Tony Ferguson.
As for McGregor, he could insert himself back into the title picture with a win over Poirier. Both fighters have publicly stated their willingness to face each other, with only the date reportedly being a sticking point in negotiations. While McGregor wants to face Poirier by the end of 2020, UFC wants to schedule the fight for January 23.