Though he may not see it himself, the picture is perfectly clear for Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Conor McGregor, he told ESPN on Monday night, is done in the UFC.
Nurmagomedov, who retired from the sport last year with a perfect record, sounded off on McGregor following his loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 on Saturday. McGregor fell to Poirier via TKO and broke his left leg, but kept making threats even while sitting in the ring after his loss. He even called Poirier’s win “illegitimate” after surgery on Sunday.
"Money and fame show who you are," Nurmagomedov said, via ESPN. "All the time we hear that money and fame change people. No. When money and fame come, these two things show who you are. And what has [McGregor] done? He punched an old guy [in a bar in 2019]. You guys can watch everything he did and understand, it's just like Dustin said, 'This guy is a bag of s**t.'
Khabib: ‘This sport is going to go a bad way’
McGregor has now lost three of his last four bouts, including one to Nurmagomedov and two straight to Poirier.
The fact that people in the sport are still in the Irishman’s corner, Nurmagomedov said, marks a dangerous path for the sport as a whole.
"I saw a lot of tweets try to support him,” he said, via ESPN. “How are you gonna support this guy? When kids, young generation watch him, watch this sport? If you want to promote your fight, promote.
"If the MMA community is going to support this bad people, this sport is going to go in a bad way."
The way he’s sounding in the past few days, McGregor clearly wants to keep fighting. UFC president Dana White even hinted at a fourth bout between him and Poirier in the future.
Poirier said so, too, but for different reasons.
“We are going to fight again, whether it’s in the Octagon or on the sidewalk,” Poirier said after UFC 264. “You don’t say the stuff he said.”
If McGregor makes it back to the Octagon, Nurmagomedov said, he doesn’t stand a chance against Poirier or whoever he goes up against.
With the injury he’s just sustained, Nurmagomedov said, is done.
"Without broken legs, yes, [he could be the same]," Nurmagomedov said, via ESPN. "But with broken legs, he's never going to kick the same. With him, no, I don't believe [he'll return to the top]. Conor have good age, but what happened with his mind, legs — this guy is finished, but he's good for promotion."