Though he’s recently retired, Khabib Nurmagomedov is still keeping his “Eagle” eye on the UFC lightweight division he once ruled.
The next big fight at 155 pounds sees former interim champion Dustin Poirier and two-division king Conor McGregor square off for a third time at UFC 264 on 10 July.
Ireland’s McGregor won the first bout and inside a round in devastating fashion back in 2014, but succumbed to a second-round TKO defeat to Poirier in the rematch at UFC 257 last January.
Opinions on how the third fight will go is mixed and Nurmagomedov, one of the few men to face – and beat – both men shared his thoughts on how he thinks the trilogy bout will go.
“It’s the same thing [as the previous fights],” Nurmagomedov told Russian media outlet RT Sport. “If it’s the first round [for a finish], I’d back Conor. From the second [round] and further, then Dustin [wins].”
Nurmagomedov still maintains a vested interest in the UFC lightweight division, with his friend and teammate Islam Makhachev making moves to the upper echelons of the weight class.
After retiring from the sport following his stunning submission victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 last October, “The Eagle” is enjoying what the landscape looks like in the UFC lightweight division.
“It’s a nice composition of the division,” the unbeaten Nurmagomedov said. “The Brazilians, if you look at [Charles] Oliveira and [Rafael] dos Anjos. The Americans are well represented. Poirier, [Justin] Gaethje, [Michael] Chandler…
“You could say it’s like a world war, the Brazilians, the Americans, the Russians. This division has always been the most interesting and the strongest. It will be fun by the end of the year.”