Irish MMA star Conor McGregor paid a visit to Moscow this week and used his press conference to challenge Dagestani fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov to a rematch.
McGregor retired after suffered a devastating defeat to Nurmagomedov last October, but used his press conference to announce his return to the octagon in January against an unnamed opponent. Nurmagomedov, the reigning UFC lightweight champion from Russia’s republic of Dagestan, has the longest active undefeated streak in MMA.
During a press conference Thursday, McGregor launched into a brutal verbal attack against Nurmagomedov, saying he wants to stage a rematch of their fight in Moscow and accusing the Dagestani fighter of running and hiding from said rematch.
"He can run — and he does run — it's in the nature of the Dagestani man to run, every great Russian knows this about the Dagestani men, every Chechen knows this about the Dagestani men — they run and they cower," he said.
"He is afraid of the Moscow bout for whatever reason. I'm not sure, does he represent Russia? I'm not sure if he does represent Russia," McGregor continued.
The Irishman also said that he gave President Vladimir Putin the first bottle of his new brand of whiskey this week, but that the president’s guards took it to be tested for poison. “But he promised he would try it,” McGregor said. Last year, McGregor sparked controversy when he called Putin "one of the greatest leaders of our time" and was photographed with the president.
Earlier this week, a Twitter spat between the two fighters ended with Nurmagomedov saying “In Moscow, rapists aren’t welcome” — presumably a reference to the sexual assault allegations against McGregor.