In an exclusive interview with ESPN, Nurmagomedov confirmed he nixed any plans of a reboot of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series in 2021, which would have featured McGregor and him as opposing coaches. UFC president Dana White revealed those plans to Barstool Sports recently, and Nurmagomedov explained why he shot it down.
“‘The Ultimate Fighter’ with him is good attention for him,” Nurmagomedov told ESPN. “I don’t want to give him this. I never give him this. Even if they give me $5 billion — even if they gave me the UFC — I never do this. This is good attention for him.
“It’s done. Everything is done Oct. 6, 2018 [the day Nurmagomedov submitted McGregor at UFC 229]. I finish him. I finish everything about him.”
Nurmagomedov (28-0) will defend his lightweight championship against Justin Gaethje (22-2) at UFC 254 on Oct. 24 in Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Should he win, the UFC has repeatedly expressed interest in booking a second fight against McGregor, but Nurmagomedov has always been cold to the idea.
A rematch between Nurmagomedov and McGregor — providing, of course, Nurmagomedov defeats Gaethje later this month — would do massive business for the UFC, as it would pit two of its biggest stars against one another, in a matchup that has witnessed some infamously bad blood. Immediately after Nurmagomedov beat McGregor at UFC 229, he leaped over the cage to confront the Irishman’s corner inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
For the moment, however, it appears Nurmagomedov is interested in just about any challenge other than McGregor.
“I had new challenge in Dustin Poirier [in 2019] and now Justin Gaethje,” Nurmagomedov said. “We’ll see who it’s going to be next, but I don’t think it’s going to be Conor McGregor.”