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Conor McGregor told by UFC rival Khabib Nurmagomedov he has to beat Dustin Poirier in order to earn rematch

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV has told Conor McGregor to beat Dustin Poirier again in order to earn a rematch.

McGregor, 32, was submitted by bitter rival Nurmagomedov, 31, in 2018 with a post-fight brawl fuelling demand for a rematch.

UFC boss Dana White had promised the Irishman a crack at redemption after unbeaten Khabib faces Justin Gaethje, 31, in October.

But after watching Gaethje clinch the interim title while locked down amid the coronavirus pandemic, McGregor announced a sudden retirement.

Nurmagomedov urged his rival to make a fourth comeback, opening the door to a lucrative rematch – as long as he beats Poirier.

Khabib said: “Let him come back (and) defeat Dustin Poirier, then we will fight with him – no problem.”

McGregor knocked out Poirier at featherweight in 2014, but the 31-year-old American has since won ten of his last 12 fights.

And he earned a shot at Nurmagomedov’s lightweight belt after winning the interim strap in 2019, but went on to lose in round three.

Khabib opened up about another fight with McGregor during a press conference in Russia, his first public event since the death of his father and coach Abdulmanap.

He died aged 57 in July from Covid-19, with The Notorious sending a classy message to the Nurmagomedov family.

And despite the animosity shared with McGregor, the UFC champion will not stop it from getting in the way of facing him for a second time.

He even suggests McGregor’s condolences helped put to bed their bitter rivalry.

Nurmagomedov explained: “Aside from sports, there are also human relations. I’m OK with [Conor]. It’s behind us.

“To live in the past and hold grudges – it’s not me. Father wasn’t like that, and I don’t think I’ve strayed too far from him.

“I don’t condone personal attacks. But who wouldn’t like it if somebody wished their father well.

“After Gaethje, I would be ready to face any opponent who gets a win over Poirier. Tony [Ferguson] or McGregor, it makes no difference.”

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