SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 4/20: Khabib Nurmagomedov on Dustin Poirier, ‘we have to fight,’ Conor McGregor participates in boxing club exhibition, Overeem eyeing Volkov after UFC St. Petersburg win, and more

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Khabib Nurmagomedov (photo credit Reinhold Matay © USA Today Sports)

‘I have to maul him’

After Dustin Poirier’s impressive and entertaining win over Max Holloway at UFC 236, fans were more than ready to see him unify the lightweight title with Khabib Nurmagomedov as soon as possible. With UFC in Russia this weekend, Khabib was on hand and spoke to the ESPN+ post-show about his thoughts on Poirier and if he was deserving of a shot at the “real” title.

“I think it was a very good performance from Dustin Poirier,” Nurmagomedov said (transcribed by MMAJunkie). “Honestly, before fight I think Holloway going to beat him. This is my prediction when you talk with friends, with father, with team, but he impressed me. Dustin has impressed me. I think he has very good boxing, much better than before. Every fight he becomes stronger, better in boxing on his feet. I think he deserve title shot. He already interim UFC lightweight champion, I am real lightweight champion. We have to fight. Now we’re working on this.”

Nurmagomedov is still under a Nevada Athletic Commission-imposed suspension until July, so the fight won’t be happening any sooner than that with September looking to be the most likely date. But while Khabib is willing to admit that Poirier is deserving of the shot and has improved his game as of late, he still thinks the fight will go down in familiar fashion for the undefeated champion.

“I follow him long time and versus me – I think I have to maul him like I do with everybody. This is what I have to do. I respect him like fighter, like human, but when we go to the cage I have to maul this guy.”

A. Another

Conor McGregor participated in an exhibition boxing match at the Crumlin Boxing Club on Friday. The club’s Facebook page released a match listing for the event with the final bout listed as Michael McGraine vs. A. Another. Well, Another turned out to be none other than McGregor. A few short clips of the fight were leaked on Twitter. McGregor fought aggressively but also took several clean punches from McGraine. The bout was ruled a draw in the end. Could this mean McGregor is prepping for another boxing match or was he there just for the fun of it? McGregor hasn’t commented on the trip to the boxing club, so only time will tell.

Saturday Notebook

-After dispatching of Aleksei Oleinik in the first round in St. Petersburg today, Alistair Overeem said that he’s eying a September date with Alexander Volkov. Volkov and Overeem were originally slated to fight on this show until Volkov had to pull out. “I was very prepared to fight Alexander Volkov, I was looking forward to that fight. That fight did not happen tonight, but hopefully the next UFC fight will be Alexander Volkov,” Overeem said at the post-fight press conference.

-Post-fight bonuses went to Islam Makhachev and Arman Tsarukyan for Fight of the Night and to Magomed Mustafaev and Sergei Pavlovich for Performance of the Night.

Post-fight press conference


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