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Father of Khabib Nurmagomedov: “We want to fight conor at the end of the year”

Father and coach of Khabib Nurmagomedov expressed his opinion on the fight between Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson for an interim UFC title. He shed some light on why Khabib’s manager could be the reason for Khabib not being booked for the fight on November 4, and answered everyone who was criticizing his son.

- Who has Kevin Lee beaten? There’s not a single outstanding fight. We saw him lose. Taysumov and Khabilov perform better than Lee. It’s just that they are not promoted as much. They have been performing longer, so I believe, this is unfair. Number 7 from the rating fights for interim title. Then why do we need that rating in the first place?

- Do you think Lee does not deserve the shot at a title?

- By all means. Ferguson, for instance, did deserve this fight. Against Conor, or Khabib.

- Who could Lee fight against?

- I’d say he could be booked against Makhachev and Khabilov. Rustam had opponents that are much stronger than those who Lee fought with.

- Dana White said that Khabib had initially rejected to fight on November 4th. Is that true?

- We are ready for a bout with anyone on November 4th. You can believe Dana White if you want. Some people point fingers at Ali Abdel Aziz (Khabib Nurmagomedov’s manager). He has contracts with a lot of fighters. He could’ve simply asked the management for a date that was more convenient to him. But this is not an accusation, just an assumption.

- Lately Khabib’s fans have been criticizing him a lot for not having more fights.

- This is what I don’t understand about Russian fans. I understand why the whole world criticize him. Yes, someone wants to see him in the cage more often, but if he did not have certain health problems, why would Khabib go through rehabilitation? We have to do what’s necessary. Why should he damage his health? Khabib has been criticized for canceled fights with Ferguson, but Tony also canceled one fight, and I did not notice as much drama. People can say anything they want as long as they do not have to bear a responsibility for representing their country. I’m not saying everyone must love us, but they certainly must respect how much effort and energy we spend.

- Khabib’s next fight: when and with whom?

- I would like him to have the next fight against Conor. If they want to set up the trilogy with Diaz, we are ready to fight against Barboza, Ferguson, Lee, Chiesa, anyone from the top. December fits perfectly. By the way, Ferguson would also have enough time to prepare. It also gives enough time to McGregor to get ready. Conor said he wanted to fight Khabib in Russia, didn’t he? This country is not ready yet for such an event, but we can meet in the US. New York or Las Vegas can be an excellent choice for the bout. Yes, we have big halls, but the UFC needs to sell broadcasting time, so Moscow or Saint Petersburg could be a good choice: they could at least earn on tickets. But other regions might not be ready to cover such expenses.

- Is there a chance that the UFC will agree on the fight with McGregor?

- He's available. Who else is out there? Barboza is injured. Lee and Ferguson are going to have their own bout. It could be Gaethje, but what's the point? I don't see much sense in fighting someone from the second part of the rating. Khabib is going on the first place at the moment, he's had no defeats, and he has a winning streak of 8 fights at the UFC. I don't see any logic in putting him up against anyone ranked below top ten in the division.

- So, you are waiting for an opponent for December?

- Yes. If there’s no one available below 70 kg, we are ready to fight Cerrone at 77 kg.