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BC-MMA--Nurmagomedov-McGregor’s Retirement,1st Ld-Writethru

April 2, 2019
Khabib Nurmagomedov says he doesn’t think Conor McGregor’s retirement is for real. McGregor said last week he was quitting mixed martial arts. Nurmagomedov beat the Irish fighter for the UFC lightweight title in October. He says “I don’t think he’s finished.”

MOSCOW (AP) — Khabib Nurmagomedov doesn’t think Conor McGregor’s retirement is for real.

McGregor said last week he was quitting mixed martial arts but Nurmagomedov, who beat the Irish fighter for the UFC lightweight title in October, isn’t buying it.

Speaking Tuesday in his native Russia at a Moscow university, Nurmagomedov said McGregor “couldn’t reach a deal with the UFC and it’s so they feel they’ve lost him and they could lose money.”

“I don’t think he’s finished,” Nurmagomedov added.

McGregor previously retired in April 2016 but reversed the decision two days later and returned to the UFC. The 30-year-old Irishman hasn’t won a fight since beating Eddie Alvarez in November 2016 to become the first UFC fighter to hold championship belts in two divisions at once.

Nurmagomedov also said he would like to fight again in September, two months after the end of his Nevada State Athletic Commission ban for the chaotic brawl with McGregor’s team after the October fight. McGregor’s sanction ends Saturday.

However, Nurmagomedov said he didn’t want to fight before longer sanctions on two other Russian fighters also end. Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Zubaira Tukhugov were each banned for one year by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for their part in the brawl. Those sanctions run until Oct. 6.

“They were banned because of me,” Nurmagomedov said.

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