Conor McGregor will never recapture the past glories that saw him crowned a two-weight UFC champion, according to Russian foe Khabib Nurmagomedov.
McGregor became the first man to hold UFC titles concurrently when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez in November 2016 to add the lightweight belt to his featherweight crown.
That capped an exhilarating run for ‘The Notorious’ after exploding onto the octagon scene in 2013, as he won nine of his first 10 fights in the promotion – his only defeat coming to Nate Diaz, which he avenged five months later.
However, after his lucrative detour into the boxing ring to face Floyd Mayweather in 2017, McGregor’s UFC stats have waned considerably.
The Irishman’s brutal second-round loss to Dustin Poirier last month – the first time he has been knocked out in his MMA career – was his second defeat in his past three UFC contests.
McGregor, 32, is already gunning for a trilogy fight with Poirier, claiming the loss has not diminished his renewed hunger for UFC gold.
But another man to beat McGregor in the octagon, undefeated Russian UFC lightweight champion Khabib, has asserted that the Dubliner will never replicate his past successes.
“Never,” said Khabib, when asked by fellow fighter Magomed Ismailov whether McGregor could come back stronger from his latest defeat.
“A person never has two peaks. Never… I’m not speaking about him now, I’m speaking in general, no one has two primes,” Khabib added.
Khabib – an avid football fan – said that teams could enjoy multiple golden eras, but not individuals.
“A team can have [different peaks], Real Madrid, for example… players change. But we’re talking about us, one man, a boxer, an MMA fighter, will never have two peaks.”
Perhaps conscious of his own need to go out on top, Khabib has insisted in recent months that he is standing by the retirement decision he announced after submitting Justin Gaethje at UFC 242 in October.
The 29-0 Russian fighter technically remains the UFC’s 155lbs king, but has frequently implored Dana White to allow the division to move on and crown a new champion, despite the UFC chief’s lingering hopes of enticing ‘The Eagle’ back into the octagon.
Khabib, 32, has named Dustin Poirier as the man most worthy of inheriting the lightweight title, and based on his thoughts on McGregor, he places little faith in the Irishman ever returning to the top of the pile.