Uproxx- Nurmagomedov has formidable #2 contender Tony Ferguson on the horizon at UFC 209, more on that in a sec, but the Russian dynamo shared with ESPN his plans beyond that. First up, graduate from a UFC 209 interim belt to take McGregor’s title and then something hilariously diabolical.
“After I finish [Ferguson], then Conor,” said Nurmagomedov. “And after I finish Conor, UFC will maybe want to make rematch. But I say, ‘No, calm down. You have to stand in line.'”
To get consideration for a fight with Conor McGregor, Nurmagomedov still has to defeat Ferguson at UFC 209. Ferguson hasn’t lost in UFC competition since 2012, but in a chat with Fox Sports, Nurmagomedov didn’t seem to concerned about that.
I have nothing but respect for this outrageously cocky move from Kahbib Nurmagomedov. You see, I always try to appreciate those that are capable of things that I couldn't imagine accomplishing in my wildest dreams. So while the fact that he's going to step into the octagon and go no-holds-barred with one of the most dangerous fighters in the entire sport in hopes of earning an opportunity to face thee most dangerous fighter in the entire sport is rather impressive, it's nothing compared to the fact that he's got a long term plan in place.
Christ, I have a hard time setting a date for the weekend before Wednesday and this Russian dude already has his whole career arc mapped out. I would imagine there might be some disastrous detours on the way, but I envy the forward thinking and this overly confident son-of-a-bitch's mind is like 12 steps ahead of the things that currently matter. If taking it "one game at a time" is a mindset that is conducive to winning then he may very well be doing some serious re-routing far sooner than he'd like, but what he lacks in focus for his upcoming opponent he makes up for in preparation for his inevitable championship reign.
This really begs the question, is it possible that I am closer to having the fighting skills necessary to succeed in the UFC than I am to having the scheduling skills necessary to succeed in the UFC? I doubt it, but I can make a very flawed argument that's true if I used Khabib Murmagomedov's confidence as a case study. I'm not sure I see a scenario where he runs the gauntlet and takes Conor McGregor's belt, but I don't have the 20/20, telescopic vision of the man whose prematurely playing "keep away" with the title that he's nowhere close to attaining yet.