Khabib Nurmagomedov has said he wants to fight Conor McGregor this year.
Nurmagomedov was reportedly the target of McGregor's alleged UFC bus attack earlier this month.
An altercation between Nurmagomedov and McGregor's friend Artem Lobov is reportedly the reason behind the alleged attack.
Nurmagomedov also recently won the vacant UFC lightweight championship title — a belt that once belonged to McGregor.
McGregor turned himself into police, was released on a $50,000 bail after appearing in a New York City court, but is due back in the courtroom in June.
Now Nurmagomedov wants to settle the rivalry in a UFC octagon.
Khabib Nurmagomedov wants to settle his rivalry with Conor McGregor.
The Russian wrestler won the vacant UFC lightweight world title when he beat Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 on April 7 — just two days after McGregor's alleged attack on a UFC team bus in New York.
UFC boss Dana White suggested that McGregor wanted to reach Nurmagomedov, who was on the bus at the time, during the alleged attack.
White said the attack was retaliation for the way Nurmagomedov once treated Artem Lobov, McGregor's teammate. Nurmagomedov and Lobov had an altercation at a team hotel on April 3. In video captured by MMA Focus, Nurmagomedov and members of his team appeared to corner Lobov and slap him.
What's more, the championship belt that Nurmagomedov won earlier this month had previously been stripped from the waist of McGregor.
The Irish striker won the lightweight belt in 2016 when he knocked out former champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, but he failed to defend the title.
Now, Nurmagomedov wants to fight the former king, McGregor, this year.
"We’re talking, but if it takes too long, I don’t want to do that," Nurmagomedov said at a Q&A event in Russia, according to Forbes. "If he wants to fight this year, then we can fight. Otherwise, I don’t know. We won’t wait long. I want to fight Conor and if he can fight, I will fight him."
A bout between Nurmagomedov and McGregor was once described by UFC boss Dana White as "the biggest fight out there" — and that was before McGregor's alleged attack earlier this month.
McGregor reportedly stormed a UFC press conference and was recorded on video throwing a dolly trolley at a bus carrying UFC fighters on April 5.
The wild fight resulted in a smashed window and the hospitalisation of two athletes. McGregor turned himself in to police, was charged with three counts of assault and one of criminal mischief, and released on a $50,000 bail after appearing in a New York City court on April 6. He is due back in court on June 14.
Related: McGregor appears in court after assault:
According to White, McGregor felt that the attack was justified. Whether or not that's the case, the backstory, drama, and rivalry means any showdown between Nurmagomedov and McGregor would likely be a massive success at the box office — but it is not Nurmagomedov's only option.
Nurmagomedov told fans at the Q&A event that his opponent is ultimately up to UFC. "I’ll just fight whoever they give me. We’ll have to see," he said. "There are two opponents. Tony [Ferguson] is out so there’s Conor and if it’s not Conor McGregor then it’s Dustin Poirier. Otherwise, there are no challengers."
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