After he took a break to attend the birth of his son past year, he participated in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and earned a reported $100 million while losing by 10th-round technical knockout.
Maybe "sham" isn't the right word, but it was definitely more spectacle than sport. It's a legacy upgrade and it's good money because it's going to be a big fight. And McGregor pocketed a life-changing payday he never would have found fighting anyone else.
Former two-weight world champion McGregor has wanted to face Nurmagomedov for some time.
Conor McGregor has confirmed his return to the UFC with a fight against hated rival Khabib Nurmagomedov. It's a rarity in combat sports, in that its mainstream, entertainment appeal is completely matched by its competitive legitimacy.
If Nurmagomedov can get the fight to the ground, McGregor will be in trouble, but the Irishman's punching power could cause serious problems for the undefeated Dagestani, who has been known to take a few shots in his day. The popular Diaz (19-11) hasn't fought since that majority-decision loss to McGregor in August 2016, but he agreed to fight Dustin Poirier in a lightweight bout in NY at UFC 230 on November 3. I fought at 185 then I relinquished the title, I don't think the UFC will let me fight for the title at 155 (laughs).
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Nurmagomedov's name doesn't carry quite the same weight with North American audiences, but he's a superstar in his native Russian Federation and among MMA fans is considered one of the very best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Two words: McGregor's back.
McGregor has close to 25 million followers on Instagram and Nurmagomedov has close to 5 million followers. Nurmagomedov is the betting favorite, and his style of holding opponents down and battering them round to round has become one of the worst ways to lose in mixed martial arts.
Those include a September 8 pay-per-view card in Dallas headlined by the Tyron Woodley-Darren Till welterweight title fight and a December 29 card in Las Vegas likely to feature a fight between women's champions Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes, although negotiations continue. For the second year in a row, McGregor is on the bill. When asked by ESPN about Diaz's tweet, UFC White said: "I have no idea (what that means)".