UFC 242: Khabib Nurmagomedov lays out future fight plans and they don't include Conor McGregor

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Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov has laid out his UFC career plans, and they do not include a certain Conor McGregor.

The Muslim fighter was speaking in London during a promotional event for his UFC 242 main event in Abu Dhabi as the 30-year-old prepares to defend his lightweight belt against interim champ Dustin Poirier on September 7.

Nurmagomedov returns to the Octagon for the first time since submitting McGregor via a fourth-round neck crank at UFC 229 last October.

The post-fight melee saw the Dagestan-native fined and suspended but he will be free to fight again from next month.

And the unbeaten Nurmagomedov plans to take out Poirier before completing unfinished business with lightweight contender Tony Ferguson, and then tempt the legendary Georges St-Pierre out of retirement.

“The last three years he only have one victory in amateur boxing, how [does] he deserve rematch?” Nurmagomedov said about McGregor. “He tapped. He begged me ‘please, don’t kill me’ and he talks about rematch. Tony Ferguson on the line. People who have win streak are on the line but not the guy who don’t win nothing the last three years.

“I have a lot of work without him. Right now, I’m focused on September 7.”

He added: “Honestly, I don’t know if he [GSP] will come back. If I wanna make my legacy big, I have to beat Ferguson and GSP, then I can become pound-for-pound number one.”

The winner of the UFC 242 main event is expected to face Ferguson after he stretched his unbeaten streak to 12 thanks to a victory over Donald Cerrone at UFC 238 last weekend.

Nurmagomedov has been scheduled to take on Ferguson numerous times with the contest collapsing for various reasons from both sides.

“He deserves a title shot in my opinion but when the UFC asked him to fight Max Holloway, he don’t take this fight,” Nurmagomedov said about Ferguson. “The problem right now is because of him. I don’t know why he don’t take this fight but he take regular fight with “Cowboy” [Donald Cerrone]. I don’t understand this.

“I don’t want to underestimate my opponent in Dustin. He’s a tough challenge for me. Right now I don’t want to think about other opponents. I have to focus on my opponent.”

The card marks the second time the promotion has brought a pay-per-view event to Abu Dhabi after hosting UFC 112 back in 2010.

The UFC did return to the Emirates in 2014 for a smaller Fight Night card, but September promises to be the biggest MMA event ever held in the region.

“It’s going to be a very big and very good show for everybody who’s going to fight in Abu Dhabi,” Nurmagomedov explained.

“My father can come to Abu Dhabi; he can’t get a visa for America so he’s going to be in my corner for the first time in UFC.

“In Abu Dhabi a lot of friends from Russia can come… so it’s going to be a good show: for me, my family, my team and I’ve very excited for this. I can’t wait.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov with his father Abdulmanap

Khabib Nurmagomedov with his father Abdulmanap

UFC 242 will signpost the beginning of a five-year partnership agreed in April with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).

That deal earmarks championship fights taking place in the capital until 2024 with Nurmagomedov and Poirier headlining the card which takes place at The Arena on Yas Island.

Poirier, who attained interim status after impressively defeating featherweight champ Holloway at UFC 236 in April, believes the landmark event will be the scene of an upset.

Asked what it will take to defeat the unbeaten Russian he said: “Experience, self-belief, my mindset, I’m focused on making history.

“I don’t need to find huge holes [in his game], the guy’s good, he’s the world champ, but I’m going to make things happen and bring him to places he’s never been to.

“I’ve learned I can count on myself. Adversity introduces a man to himself, I’m well acquainted and I’m ready to rock.”

Tickets went on sale for UFC 242 last Friday and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com

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Top five head-kick knockouts in UFC history

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Valentina Shevchenko dominated Jessica Eye

In the world of mixed martial arts there are few techniques as brutal, but spectacularly beautiful, than the head kick.

A strike that can end a fight in an instant, we saw it in all its destructive force this weekend at UFC 238 when women’s flyweight world champion Valentina Shevchenko landed a lights-out shot on number one contender Jessica Eye.

Over the years there have been some incredible examples in the UFC – here we take a look at five of the very best.

Edson Barboza v Terry Etim – UFC 142, January 2012 

The head kick that all others are still judged by. When Brazilian Barboza took on Britain’s Etim in Rio few could have predicted the earth-shattering outcome. A stunning spinning wheel kick caught Etim right on the jaw, immediately stiffening the Liverpool man, who was unconscious before hitting the canvas.

Gabriel Gonzaga v Mirko Filipovic – UFC 70, April 2007

Mirko Cro-cop came into the UFC with a fierce reputation in the fight game. ‘Right foot hospital, left foot cemetery’ was a quote that told you all you need to know about his kicking prowess. On this night in Manchester, however, the world stood in stunned silence as Brazilian Gonzaga unleashed a night-ending bolt from the blue in the very first round.

Holly Holm v Ronda Rousey – UFC 193, November 2015

The kick that changed the face of women’s MMA. Both went into the fight unbeaten, Rousey having eviscerated all before her. Few gave the ‘Preacher’s Daughter’ much chance but she dominated from the outset finishing things with a swift kick to the face of a stumbling Rousey – the follow up punches on the ground were redundant.

Lyoto Machida v Randy Couture – UFC 129, April 2011

In terms of technique, few hold a candle to this strike from Machida. While most knockout will come from spinning techniques, this front kick was a thing of pure beauty. The speed and timing to connect with the chin of Hall of Fame legend Couture was incredible. This was closely-run in this list by a similar effort from Anderson Silva against Vitor Belfort.

Aleksandar Rakic v Jimi Manuwa – UFC Fight Night 153, June 2019

A recent addition to the list from earlier this month. On a four-fight win streak in the UFC, Rakic was looking towards the light-heavyweight top-10, while Manuwa was coming off three reverses. A swift swing of the Austrian’s left leg continued his momentum in devastating fashion, and sent the Brit into retirement.

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UFC 238: Henry Cejudo is double champ, wins for Ferguson and Shevchenko

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Henry 'Two Belts' Cejudo

Henry Cejudo added to his impressive fight-CV by becoming just the fourth person in UFC history to be a consecutive two-weight world champion.

His third-round stoppage of Brazilian Marlon Moraes added the bantamweight strap to the flyweight belt already in his possession.

With a wrestling gold medal from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Cejudo’s latest win had many suggesting his now takes his place among the greatest fighters of all time.

Cejudo didn’t have things his all his own way though, the Brazilian looked strong in the first round using his kicks to keep the grappler at a safe distance.

It was a similar story going into the early knockings of the second, but Cejudo upped his work rate and managed to close the distance finding real joy with knees in the clinch.

As Moraes tired into the third, The Messenger was able to take control, eventually taking proceedings to the mat. A choke attempt was stunted, but Cejudo’s dominant ground game could not be quelled as he finished the fight with a flurry of punches and elbows to make history. Cejudo now stands at 15-2, Moraes slips to a 22-6 record.

Elsewhere, the highly anticipated lightweight clash between Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone ended in something of a disappointment.

Doctors called a halt to Donald Cerrone's match with Tony Ferguson

Doctors called a halt to Donald Cerrone’s match with Tony Ferguson

Going into the fight both men knew a win would secure a fight with the winner of UFC 242’s headliner in Abu Dhabi – Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier – but after an electrifying first two rounds, which still garnered the Fight of the Night accolade, it would be the doctor who would bring a premature end to the contest.

Cerrone, now 36-12, had taken the first round with an accurate and varied attack targeting the whole of Ferguson’s body. The fight stayed upright for much of the second stanza, but it was Ferguson now doing the damage.

He drew blood early in the round, landing heavily to the face of the Cowboy, who was visibly marked around both eyes, thanks mainly to vicious jabs from Ferguson.

The round ended in controversy as El Cucuy landed a shot after the bell, but there was no point deduction.

Just as the third period was about to start, Cerrone appeared to blow his nose, causing a rush of air and blood to the already-damaged right eye causing it to practically close from the swelling.

After a brief consultation doctors declared him unfit to continue, handing Ferguson the win, a 25-3 record, and a title shot in the not-too-distant future.

Women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko defended her crown in devastating fashion against number-one contender Jessica Eye.

Valentina Shevchenko dominated Jessica Eye

Valentina Shevchenko dominated Jessica Eye

After dominating the first round on the ground, The Bullet landed a devastating head-kick in the opening seconds of round two rendering Eye unconscious before she even hit the canvas.

It was one of the most brutal knockout in the history of the women’s game, and took Shevchenko to 17-3, while Eye dropped to 14-7.

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