Conor McGregor could gatecrash Khabib vs Poirier at UFC 242 – Dana White
Nurmagomedov will defend his lightweight title against Poirier – the interim 155lbs champion – at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi.
The bout will be the Russian’s first outing since his UFC 229 grudge match with Conor McGregor, which he won via fourth-round submission.
McGregor, of course, is still angling for a rematch with his successor at the summit of the lightweight division, who is adamant the Irishman must work his way back up the rankings.
And given his eagerness to get back in the title picture, White wouldn’t be surprised if ‘The Notorious’ turned up in Abu Dhabi to campaign for a second shot at becoming a two-time 155lbs titleholder.
“Yeah, he could,” White admitted to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto when asked if he could foresee McGregor attending the event. “He could, possibly.”
White has been in frequent contact with McGregor, who has yet to tell him if he plans to take in Nurmagomedov vs Poirier in person.
“He hasn’t said [if he will],” the UFC chief added. “I’m not [breaking any news]. He could, probably, show up to that fight. But I don’t know if he will. He hasn’t said anything to me.”
Given the tension which still remains between the pair, some of which stems from a culturally insensitive tweet from McGregor about Nurmagomedov’s wife, there would be serious security concerns about having both men and any members of their respective teams in the same building.
I would have no problem with Conor showing up there
Dana White on Conor McGregor watching Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Dustin Poirier in person
White doesn’t foresee that being an issue, saying: “I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.
“I honestly believe that in that region they like Conor McGregor too. I know they take things a little serious when stuff is said but Khabib won the fight.
“And I think it’s all just trash talk leading up to. Obviously Khabib and Conor, there’s no love lost Those guys do not like each other. But it’s part of the business.
“Culturally, I don’t think so. I would have no problem with Conor showing up there.”
McGregor, 30, is currently sidelined with a hand injury and is understood to be targeting an end of year return.
Prior to injuring his left hand, the Irishman was hard at work in the gym, which has led his coach John Kavanagh to believe his motivation to be the best mixed martial artist on the planet has returned.
“I guess what I was really trying to say was I really want to see him motivated,” Kavanagh said during an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA. “And he probably said in the Tony Robbins interview where he spoke about losing that for a bit.
“And this is a game where it’s full-on, it’s full contact [and] it’s dangerous. When he won the second belt when he beat Eddie [Alvarez], he’d achieved everything he set out to achieve.
“He was very wealthy, he was world champion. So you’ve got to then take some time and think, well, what’s going to motivate you to do it anymore?
“He said himself that that became a bit of a problem. What is it? Is it getting another belt? Is it make some more money?
“And I think what has come back around is the love of the sport.
“He loves doing it, he loves training [and] he loves competing.
“And legacy, that he’s remembered being one of the best, if not the best ever.
“So that’s what’s really come back into him since the beginning of the year. That’s what I wanted to see.
“Because he’s obviously a very well-known student of mine, but he’s also somewhat like a kid brother.
“You wouldn’t want to see him doing something just for the sake of doing it and maybe getting hurt or whatever because he’s not fully there. But now he absolutely is.”
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