Dana White said he has not talked to Conor McGregor about his next fight, while the UFC president believes Mike Tyson has something "lined up" ahead of his reported boxing return.

UFC star McGregor has not fought since January and the Irishman is itching to return to the octagon amid the coronavirus pandemic.

McGregor has been vocal on social media, calling out Justin Gaethje earlier this month after the American dominated Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 behind closed doors in Jacksonville, Florida.

Asked about McGregor, White said the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion just needs to bide his time.

"Conor and I have not talked about fighting," White told ESPN. "If you're Conor, sitting at home, everybody is calling you out, in every weight division. Who's next?

"I'm waiting for [heavyweight Daniel Cormier] to call him out, you know? Conor, his personality, he's going to respond to that.

"I think what Conor needs to do is sit back and let these fights start rolling out. Obviously, the most important division is the 155-pound [lightweight] division. See what plays out."

Away from the octagon and in boxing, legendary fighter Tyson appears to be closing in on a stunning comeback.

Former heavyweight champion Tyson last fought professionally in 2005 but the 53-year-old has cut an incredibly fit figure amid links to Evander Holyfield, Tito Ortiz and Tyson Fury.

"Originally, I came out and said, 'Listen, I'd like Mike not to fight,'" said White. "I even got Mike a TV show, to try and keep him from fighting. But Mike Tyson is a grown man, he can do whatever. The guy is powerful, looks explosive and has gotten himself in great shape.

"From what I'm hearing from them, they have something lined up, something big. He's going to get in there. We talked about it and he said, 'Listen, I feel that fire in my stomach. I want to get in there and mix it up again.' I'm fully supportive of him."

Khabib Nurmagomedov branded Conor McGregor the "greatest UFC fighter in Twitter history" in response to his rival's GOAT list posted on social media.

Former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor revealed his top four on Saturday, putting Anderson Silva at number one but making clear the Brazilian has some stiff competition to be considered the greatest - from the Irishman himself, of course.

"My array of finishes, across 3 divisions, with champion status in 2, I'm No.2. If not tied 1," McGregor wrote on Twitter. "However [I'm] still active, No.1 is fully secured by career end. And easily."

Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones also made the list, but there was no place for undefeated lightweight champion Khabib.

Asked to explain the Russian's absence, McGregor replied: "Fancy record but a way to go before any GOAT entry.

"Only HL [highlight] is win over me with hangover and broken foot. Other than that, made Iaquinta's career with bad performance before Cerrone ended it again. 3rds to get Poirier out. 0 array of finishes. Bottled many bouts. Zero else of note."

Khabib, who defeated McGregor by submission at UFC 229 in 2018, countered with a tweet of his own, pointing out what he perceives to be fundamental flaws in McGregor's own case.

"You tapped out in featherweight, you tapped out in lightweight and you tapped in welterweight," Khabib wrote.

"You never defended title in the UFC or Cage Warriors, you gave up more than GSP, Spider and Bones all together. You greatest UFC fighter in Twitter history."

Jones also got involved in the debate, putting up a list of fighters to have the most wins in UFC title bouts - with McGregor obviously not among them - along with the comment: "Goat where you at."

The light-heavyweight champion also later quote-tweeted Khabib's post, adding: "Like I said I’ll let the fans do the debating for me, thanks Khabib."

Conor McGregor believes Anderson Silva is the greatest MMA fighter of all time but expects to surpass the Brazilian by the end of his career.

Former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor explained who he considers to be the best to have stepped into the Octagon.

The outspoken Irishman ranked himself second to former middleweight king Silva, though he clarified he would be top of the list if failed drug tests were taken into account.

McGregor also included former welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre and light-heavyweight title-holder Jon Jones in his rankings.

He posted on Twitter: "The array of finishes, across 2 divisions, with champion status in 1, Anderson Silva is No.1 MMA GOAT.

"My array of finishes, across 3 divisions, with champion status in 2, I'm No.2. If not tied 1.

"However [I'm] still active, No.1 is fully secured by career end. And easily.

"GSP [St-Pierre] is in at 3. Much less array of finishes but champion status in 2. He is far behind though. Reasons = Left 170[lb division] after much damage taken + questionable decision. Never re-engaged 170lb successors. Bottled Anderson fight. Only moved [to middleweight] when one-eyed fighter [Michael Bisping] presented. Played safe.

"Jon is 4. Maybe tied 3. More array of finishes than 3 and still active, but champion status in just 1. Reasons = Multiple lacklustre decision performances + questionable decision win. Attempting to safe play HW [heavyweight] entry/avoiding its champion."

McGregor added: "I didn't mentions PED results on multiple entrants, even though that makes me the clear current No.1 MMA GOAT, along with still being active.

"Although it shames, as well as puts all runs+finishes in complete doubt, I've snored multiple juice heads. A true GOAT must do it all.

"Clarity on Silva's earlier no.1 spot. Most stylistic finishes on resume. Front kicks to face. Up elbow (albeit outside UFC) Thai plum knees leading to broken facial bones. Long list of jaw dropping finishes. Myself/Anderson have the most exciting/important finishes in the sport!

"One more on George/Jon decision that will clear why I originally gave George 3 and Jon 4 before a maybe tied 3. A lot of Jon's opponents were Anderson's 185lb opponents but the array of stoppages were not there, or nowhere near Anderson's despite the weight advantage to do so."

Conor McGregor has welcomed high praise from Mike Tyson and promised on his life he will "crack the puzzle" to win an "inevitable rematch" with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Heavyweight great Tyson, who recently revealed he was coming out of retirement, talked up UFC star McGregor's showing when he was beaten by the legendary Mayweather in his professional boxing debut in 2017.

The former world champion said in the latest edition of his Hotboxin' with Mike Tyson podcast: "He [McGregor] never really had a boxing match in his life, right?

"He went 10 rounds with the greatest fighter in the last 100 years of boxing. He went 10 rounds, scored punches on the greatest fighter in the last 100 years.

"Did he do something? Did he accomplish something? People should look who he had the fight against and look what he did when he fought against him."

Mayweather, who quit with a perfect 50-0 record, says he has no interest in boxing again but is open to the idea of more fights that give him a chance to "entertain and have a little fun".

McGregor expressed his gratitude to Tyson and vowed to gain revenge in a second fight with Mayweather that he believes is bound to happen.

He tweeted: "Thank you Mike, and just know that for the inevitable rematch, with the knowledge I now hold of Floyd's style, plus under the tutelage of my old school boxing coach, I will crack the puzzle, and I will beat Floyd.

"I promise my life on it. It is great to see you back Iron Mike."

Conor McGregor sent a classy message to Khabib Nurmagomedov after reports the Russian's father and coach, Abdulmanap, was in a coma.

Abdulmanap, 57, was placed in a medically induced coma after complications from pneumonia, reports in Russia said on Wednesday.

McGregor threatened Khabib, the unbeaten lightweight champion, in an explosive Twitter rant on Monday, but put their feud aside to send his well-wishes to the Russian.

"Praying for the recovery of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov," the Irishman wrote on Twitter.

"A man responsible for more world champions, across multiple fighting disciplines, than we even know. A true martial genius!

"Very saddened upon hearing this news tonight. Praying for the Nurmagomedov family at this time."

UFC president Dana White also offered his regards to Khabib and the Nurmagomedov family.

"Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov is a true martial artist who lives a life of pride, honour and respect," he said in a statement.

"He instilled those same values in his son, world champion Khabib, at an early age and was always in his corner throughout his career. I know how close Khabib is with his father and I'm saddened to hear about his current state.

"My thoughts are with Abdulmanap and the Nurmagomedov family as he continues to fight."

Khabib beat McGregor in an infamous bout in Las Vegas in October 2018, and is 28-0.

Dana White expects a UFC lightweight unification bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje to be staged on 'Fight Island' next month.

Gaethje turned his attention to a showdown with undisputed champion Khabib after beating Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 last weekend to take the interim title.

Khabib was due to fight Ferguson in Brooklyn last month, but that battle could not go ahead due to the coronavirus pandemic - with the Russian stuck in Dagestan.

Gaethje grasped his chance to replace Khabib and he is now set to get his shot at the 31-year-old.

UFC boss White revealed what has been christened 'Fight Island' - a secretive location off the coast of the United States - remains under construction, but should be ready for the pair to lock horns by the end of June.

He told ESPN 1000 Chicago: "I don't know if it will be the first one [bout], but it will be on Fight Island, unless miraculously the world comes back together faster than I think it's gonna."

White added: "Hopefully it will be done by mid-June, and I could put on a fight that weekend that it's done or end of June."

Conor McGregor called out Gaethje with a social media rant on Monday, but White said the Irishman will have to wait.

He added: "Any time Conor McGregor is fighting, it's exciting, but yeah, I'm very excited for Gaethje versus Khabib.

"I think stylistically it's a great matchup. I'm looking forward to it."

Conor McGregor threatened Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje in an explosive Twitter rant on Monday.

McGregor, 31, was last in action in January, but is seemingly ready for a return, even if it is behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Irishman blasted both Khabib, the unbeaten lightweight champion, and Gaethje, who beat Tony Ferguson on Saturday.

"The fans make the sport! Watching the other night I was against going in without them," McGregor wrote on Twitter.

"But it will be my f****** pleasure to display the power I possess with zero background noise for them. Its [sic] me and Justin next as khabib is the biggest bottle fighter in the game. Guarantee it."

McGregor continued: "Justin, there is no danger in a man that hugs legs, we all know. Try and dance around what the real threat is here all you want. I am going to f****** butcher you. Your teeth. I'm going to put them on a f****** necklace. Speak on my skills as a father? You are f****** dead."

"Khabib you absolute embarrassment. Scurrying, hiding rat as usual. As I have said many times. As has been seen many times," McGregor continued.

"Through the pane of glass it was confirmed what was always known. "No comment" lol. An embarrassment to real fighting."

Khabib beat McGregor in an infamous bout in Las Vegas in October 2018, and is 28-0.

The Russian hit back on Twitter, and alongside a photo of their fight wrote: "Yes, we remember you, you was so nice that night, be same, don't be fake."

UFC returned behind closed doors in Jacksonville and the overriding feeling afterwards could be summed up using just one word - wow!

The coronavirus pandemic forced UFC 249 - and the original main event of Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Tony Ferguson in Brooklyn – to be called off.

Instead, Ferguson ended up facing Justin Gaethje, the man who had stepped in for the original April 18 date before operations were suspended by president Dana White due to the global health crisis.

And Gaethje caused an upset in monumental fashion when the pair finally met on Saturday, putting on a brutal display to stop Ferguson and claim the interim lightweight belt, leading him to immediately call out Khabib.

Before a strike had even landed in a thrilling main event, fans watching at home were reacting to Henry Cejudo's surprise retirement announcement after defending his bantamweight strap against Dominick Cruz.

After an action-packed card, it is time to look at the main takeaways from UFC 249.


GAETHJE EARNS SHOT AT KHABIB

Whatever the circumstances and whatever factors were against Ferguson, nothing should be taken away from Gaethje. An opportunity presented itself and he emphatically grasped it, putting on a punishing clinic against an all-time great. The landscape of a star-studded lightweight division was altered dramatically, too. The winner immediately called out unbeaten champion Khabib, who provides a fearsome mountain to climb but it is a shot Gaethje fully deserves following his latest success.

FERGUSON'S GALLANTRY PROVES COSTLY

It was a night that belonged to Gaethje, there is no doubting that. But Ferguson deserves immense credit for never shying away from a fight. For the majority of the past six months he has been preparing for the grappling skills of Khabib, as opposed to the striking ability of Gaethje. You also have to take into account Ferguson cut weight twice in the past four weeks – he was originally due to fight in April, of course - which is bound to have had an effect. Ferguson, though, is always ready and willing – yet perhaps that gallantry cost him in the end.

McGREGOR NEXT FOR TONY?

Gaethje's path looks pretty well set now for the next few months and, if travel restrictions are lifted enough, Khabib surely lies in wait before the end of 2020. Originally, UFC's plan appeared to be for Gaethje to face Conor McGregor, with the victor of that bout taking on whoever triumphed between Khabib and Ferguson. Ferguson has seen a showdown with Khabib scrapped five times and this defeat means that long-awaited dance may now never happen. But McGregor's plans are also up in the air now Gaethje looks out of the question for this year. It stands to reason, then, that UFC should look to book Ferguson against McGregor.

IS CEJUDO REALLY RETIRED?

On a card containing several jaw-dropping moments, bantamweight champion Cejudo threw a spanner in the works when he announced his retirement after scoring a contentious second-round stoppage over the returning Cruz. UFC boss White later said it was an option Cejudo had been pondering for some time, but that he did not know the announcement was coming at UFC 249. The thing is, in the MMA game, the lure of just one more fight often proves too much to resist. At 33, Cejudo still has plenty more to give so, while he may be retired now, keep watching this space…

It's UFC but not as we know it.

The coronavirus pandemic is drastically changing the landscape of sport and the world of UFC is no different.

UFC 249 was originally due to take place in the middle of April but that event and several others scheduled to take place after were unable to go ahead as operations were suspended.

But president Dana White was determined to forge ahead and the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, will host a rearranged behind-closed-doors UFC 249 on Saturday.

Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje will battle it out for the interim lightweight title, while Henry Cejudo meets the returning legend Dominick Cruz for the bantamweight strap.

Here, we answer the big questions ahead of Saturday's action…


IS IT SAFE TO FIGHT?

About as safe as it can be in the current world climate. White said last month "it's not going to be cheap. It's going to be expensive" so UFC will be doing everything they can to ensure a safe environment for the show. The event has the backing of the state of Florida and, crucially, ESPN – whose intervention was part of the reason an April 18 date was kiboshed. As a sign it can be done, WWE has filmed shows out of Orlando without fans including its flagship pay-per-view Wrestlemania. That's not to say it is completely risk free but UFC is pulling out all the stops.


WHAT PROTOCOLS ARE IN PLACE?

First and foremost, and somewhat self-explanatory, no fans will be attendance at the venue. All the fighters will be subjected to stringent daily testing at a sealed off hotel, which will extend to team members and all staff working on the event. According to ESPN, UFC is to administer the diagnostic swap coronavirus test and the antibody test, while fighters will be encouranged not to mingle in large groups. Individual workout rooms are to be provided to ensure fighters can train and cut weight, and each will be equipped with mats, mat sanitiser and a personal sauna. Meals will be provided for those who want it at scheduled times and outside hotel room doors.


HOW SIGNIFICANT IS THE FERGUSON-GAETHJE FIGHT?

In terms of the lightweight division, extremely. The interim belt will be on the line in the co-main event and the winner will likely be next in line to fight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Ferguson of course was supposed to be fighting Khabib in Brooklyn before travel restrictions prevented the champion from entering the United States and the show was scrapped altogether. It was the fifth time a scheduled bout between the two had been cancelled but an opportunity has presented itself for Gaethje. If he can pull off a huge win then the division's path will have changed drastically. If Ferguson wins then surely he and Khabib will finally meet in the Octagon further down the road.


IS CRUZ THE RIGHT OPPONENT FOR CEJUDO?

Cejudo is the kind of guy you either love or hate – there's not much middle ground. His achievements should not be underplayed, though. This is a guy who four years ago suffered a humbling first-round knockout defeat to Demetrious Johnson, only to go away, get better and dethrone the all-time great from the flyweight throne in August 2018. He went on to defeat TJ Dillashaw, who stepped down a division, and then became a two-belt champion by overcoming Marlon Moraes to claim the bantamweight strap almost a year ago. But since then Cejudo's motives have been questionable, calling out legends such as Frankie Edgar, Urijah Faber and Jose Aldo. Dominick Cruz is considered by most as the greatest bantamweight of all time but he has not fought since dropping the belt in a shock loss to Cody Garbrandt in December 2016 with injuries cruelly denying him the opportunity to work his way back to the top. At this stage it's hard to see Cruz as a title contender and Cejudo might be better served proving himself against a high-ranked challenger such as Aljamain Sterling.


WHERE'S AMANDA NUNES?

Two-weight champion Amanda Nunes was said to have had a verbal agreement to defend her featherweight belt against Felicia Spencer as part of a co-main event. However, the brilliant Brazilian – who is on a 10-fight winning streak – stated last month she would not be part of a May 9 card. Nunes explained that she wanted a full camp to prepare for a title defence and that she would reassess the situation for a possible fight in June.


WHAT ELSE IS ON THE CARD?

In a stacked card, Francis Ngannou will take on Jairzinho Rozenstruik in a heavyweight bout that was due to headline UFC: Colombus before coronavirus got in the way. A win for either would enhance their claims to a title shot. Also on the main card, Jeremy Stephens and Calvin Kattar will meet in a featherweight fight, while Greg Hardy and Yorgan de Castro wage war in the heavyweight division. And among the prelims, long-time fan favourites Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis will face off - the former having lost to Conor McGregor as recently as January.

When opportunity knocks in UFC you had better be ready to answer and Justin Gaethje has one hell of a chance to shake up a stacked lightweight division against Tony Ferguson on Saturday.

Things were supposed to be very different. For one thing Ferguson was finally meant to dance with long-term foe Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title in front a packed-out crowd at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on April 18.

But the coronavirus pandemic left champion Khabib unable to travel to the United States and, after Gaethje had been drafted in as an opponent, the plug was finally pulled on the event when ESPN and parent company Disney intervened.

Yet here we are just a few weeks later and the show will go on, albeit in vastly different circumstances.

UFC president Dana White confirmed last month UFC 249 will go ahead without fans on May 9 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, with only essential personnel permitted to attend.

Ferguson remains top of the bill and will go up against fellow American Gaethje for the interim lightweight belt in a bout that can alter the course of a division swimming in talent.

As well as unbeaten champion Khabib, the return of Conor McGregor throws a monumental spanner into the works, while Dustin Poirier – who may have fallen short in his bid to defeat Khabib – remains an active threat.

Here's a recap of how things have played out at 145lbs in the past few months…


MCGREGOR RETURN SHAKES THINGS UP

Love him or hate him, McGregor is money and the Irishman being active can only be a good thing for UFC and the bank balances of those facing him. The former two-weight champion appears to have rediscovered his love of the MMA game and he set out a three-fight plan for 2020 (which admittedly appears unlikely to be fulfilled now given the global health crisis). The first of those resulted in a convincing first-round stoppage of UFC legend Donald Cerrone and the plan, you would assume, was likely to face Gaethje before building towards a huge rematch with Khabib. Regardless of how the next chapter in this division plays out, an active, healthy and focused McGregor certainly makes this interesting.


FERGUSON-KHABIB CANCELLED AGAIN

It was always hard to look beyond a McGregor win given Cerrone's advancing years and the next part of the lightweight story was meant to be Khabib and Ferguson finally going head-to-head in the Octagon. On four prior occasions these two huge names in the world of MMA were booked to fight only for a combination of injuries and rotten luck to deny fans this dream encounter. So, when the coronavirus outbreak meant the bout was scuppered for a fifth time it did little to change the perception of Khabib-Ferguson being a cursed fight. It would be a crying shame should these two never meet and surely one day their paths will cross but things may yet play out a little differently…


SURPRISE OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS FOR GAETHJE

White likes to reward fighters who are active and willing to go at short notice. Gaethje has certainly proven himself to be just that in recent weeks and that attitude could pay off in a huge way if he can find a way past Ferguson. Gaethje is ranked fourth in the lightweight division after rebounding from damaging defeats to Eddie Alvarez and Poirier with a trio of impressive wins over James Vick, Edson Barbosa and Cerrone. The natural order of things really should have been for Gaethje to face McGregor and the winner of that fight to meet the victor of Khabib-Ferguson. But we are where we are and Gaethje has a monumental opportunity to stake his claim as the next in line to face Khabib and truly mix things up in the lightweight division.

Tony Ferguson questioned the absence of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor from UFC 249 as he prepared to face Justin Gaethje, the Russian's replacement.

Ferguson had been set to face Khabib last month, before the latter pulled out due to flight restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic and the event was later postponed.

A behind-closed-doors fight was rescheduled for May 9, yet both lightweight champion Khabib and rival McGregor will be absent in Jacksonville.

Ferguson is set to instead face Gaethje for the interim title, a status the 36-year-old previously held before losing it due to injury.

That decision still rankles - as now does the failure of two of the sport's biggest names to appear despite the ongoing global crisis.

Ferguson, who removed his protective mask early in his latest news conference, had on Tuesday claimed the pair "fell off the face of the f*****g earth" and were "a bunch of f*****g b*****s".

"My hardcore understanding is that I do have the belt," he added at the UFC's virtual media day on Thursday. "I shouldn't have been stripped.

"You've got good old meathead, f*****g fathead Khabib. He didn't wanna fight. He ran away like a dog with his tail between his legs. It's the same thing with Conor.

"'I'm gonna be next, I'm gonna be next' is what everybody said. But where the f*** are they at? Obviously they're back home trying to quarantine and obviously we're here crushing quarantine."

Ferguson was asked again about Khabib but preferred to focus on Gaethje, replying: "I don't give a s***.

"To me, that fight [with Khabib] doesn't even exist. The fight that is going to happen is UFC 249."

Gaethje only signed to UFC in 2017 when he vacated his World Series of Fighting lightweight title.

He said: "This is everything. I'm fighting for my life, for everything I've worked for in my life. This is a culmination of events that has led me to here.

"It's one day at a time, one fight at a time. I never thought I would be here. But the fact that I'm here? I'm a competitor, I'm a show-off, I know how many people are going to be watching.

"I'm going to go out there and perform - that's what I do. Even if I didn't want to, it's in me. I was made for this."

UFC president Dana White said Conor McGregor is "ready to go" as the Irish star eyes a bout on 'Fight Island' amid the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 has brought sport and the UFC to a standstill but mixed martial arts will return in Florida, where Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje will headline UFC 249 behind closed doors on Saturday.

After unbeaten lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov had to be replaced as Ferguson's opponent due to travel restrictions, White has been working on staging international bouts on a private island.

While reluctant to have McGregor fighting without fans, White said the former featherweight and lightweight champion – who last fought in January – is itching to return.

"Conor's been ready to fight for a while. He's in shape. He's ready to go," White told CBS Sports Network's The Jim Rome Show.

"First of all, 'Fight Island' is going to be very important in any of these fights that are happening with people from outside the country.

"He and I were texting. He's asking me what date can I fight on 'Fight Island' and will there be fans. Conor's asking me, Conor wants to fight.

"It kills me to do a fight with Conor without fans. Kills me. This guy's doing almost $20million gates."

UFC 249 was originally set to be held in Brooklyn on April 18, but the coronavirus crisis forced the event to be relocated and rescheduled.

On Tuesday, UFC 251 in Perth was postponed due to COVID-19, having been scheduled for June 7.

It came after UFC 250 in Sao Paulo was postponed, as well as events in Nebraska, Oklahoma City and San Diego.

Conor McGregor's first encounter with Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018 was a fight that caused controversy the likes of which UFC had never seen in its history.

The record books, which show a submission win for lightweight champion Khabib, barely scratch the surface of this bad-blooded showdown.

An ugly build-up came to a head after the fight in Las Vegas, with the two warring camps involved in a mass melee.

Still, this is a rivalry that we feel is far from done. In the first of our UFC rematches we would love to see series, we take a look at why McGregor and Khabib should go at it all over again.


WHAT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST FIGHT?

How long do you have? The lead up to this fight was ugly to say the very least and included McGregor's involvement in an attack on a bus carrying Khabib and other fighters for which he would eventually be forced to do community service and partake in an anger management program.

When the two eventually met at UFC 229, Khabib made McGregor submit in the fourth round having controlled the fight but the drama was far from over. 

Khabib launched himself over the cage to fight members of McGregor's team, leading to a mass brawl in which the Irishman was also attacked in the cage. It was a pretty bad look for all concerned.


WHY DO WE WANT TO SEE THEM GO AGAIN?

There are several reasons – not least because McGregor, love him or hate him, remains such a huge draw, while Khabib is forging the sort of career whereby he has legitimate claims as the greatest of all time.

McGregor has insisted he can beat Khabib in a rematch, so it would be intriguing to see if he can actually come out with a different gameplan or if those words are just misguided confidence.

And, truthfully, where there is this much bad blood between two fighters it is natural that there is a desire to see them go again rather than trade verbal barbs in public.

WHO HAVE THEY FOUGHT SINCE?

McGregor and Khabib were each hit with bans for their involvement in the spat but Khabib defended his lightweight title against Dustin Poirier last September, earning a third-round submission.

It took McGregor a little longer before he was back in the Octagon but was in clinical form against Donald Cerrone in January.

WILL IT HAPPEN?

McGregor's first-round stoppage of Cerrone was the first of what he hoped would be three fights in 2020 (although the coronavirus pandemic now makes that unlikely) and the Irishman has seemingly rediscovered his love of MMA.

'The Notorious' has made no secret of his desire to at some point have the opportunity to avenge his defeat and usually when he sets his eyes on a fight it happens.

From Khabib's side, there has been no real sign that he is interested in a rematch and surely his main priority is on finally facing Tony Ferguson, with a long-awaited showdown between the two cancelled for a fifth time with UFC events suspended as a result of COVID-19.

But, as ever in the crazy world of combat sports, money talks. So, if the price is right this is a rematch that will undoubtedly take place.

WHO WOULD WIN?

McGregor's place in UFC history is without question but even accounting for that it would need a huge turnaround from their first fight for him to have his hand raised. Right now, Khabib would be the undoubted favourite.

T.J. Dillashaw could certainly do worse than starting his road to redemption by beating Jose Aldo.

Two-time bantamweight champion Dillashaw is serving a two-year suspension for taking a banned substance around the time he dropped the belt to Henry Cejudo.

Dillashaw has openly admitted his error and still has time left to stew on his mistake given his ban runs until January 2021.

But the American has spoken of his desire to make amends and once again have an opportunity to reign at bantamweight, a division Aldo now fights in having been one of the kings of the featherweights for so long.

In the final edition of our UFC dream fights we would love to see series, we analyse the histories of Dillashaw and Aldo in the Octagon.


WHY DO WE WANT TO SEE THIS FIGHT?

Dillashaw, who stated as long ago as 2014 that he would love to mix it with Aldo in the Octagon, has a long road ahead of him to win back his detractors.

Going up against Aldo, a great of the MMA game, would be a good place to start given the Brazilian is 0-1 at bantamweight having lost to Marlon Moraes in December.

The legendary Aldo was booked to fight Cejudo for the belt in May at UFC 250 but with uncertainty still surrounding when bouts can take place due to the coronavirus pandemic, the return of Dillashaw looms over the division.


GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS

Dillashaw was thrust into the limelight when he scored an upset win over Renan Barao way back in May 2014, making two successful defences before dropping the belt to Dominick Cruz.

Just under two years later, Dillashaw knocked out Cody Garbrandt – the two former camp mates having engaged in an ugly build-up – to reclaim the strap. He was controversially stopped after just 32 seconds in his fight against Cejudo in January 2019 to lose the title again.

Aldo is one of the best to ever fight at featherweight and is the company's first recognised champion in the division having held the belt in WEC prior to its merger with UFC.

It was a belt he would be in possession of until his infamous 13-second defeat to Conor McGregor, the likes of Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes (twice) and Frankie Edgar among the list of names he had beaten.

Aldo overcame Edgar for a second time to be recognised as interim champion and became full champion again after McGregor vacated the title. However, he then lost twice to Max Holloway.


WHAT'S THEIR MMA RECORD (W-L-D)?

Dillashaw: 17-4-0

Aldo: 28-6-0


TALE OF THE TAPE

Dillashaw:

Age: 34
Height: 5'6" (167cm)
Weight: 135lbs (61kg)
Reach: 67"
Leg Reach: 38"

Aldo:

Age: 33
Height: 5'7" (170cm)
Weight: 145lbs (65kg)
Reach: 70"
Leg Reach: 40"


WHAT THEY'VE SAID ABOUT A POTENTIAL FIGHT

"It's hard to hold grudges, because I did it," Dillashaw said. "I made the mistake. I dirtied my name myself. It's not on anybody else. I gave them fuel. It hurts, but that's part of the payment – part of the payment for how I dirtied my name up. I've got to live with it now. Trying to hold onto those grudges, that's like holding onto the past. I've already moved on. I'm ready to push for that next goal and getting my belt back," Dillashaw, speaking to MMA Junkie this month, is focused on big targets upon his return.

"That's something I always told everybody in the gym and my friends, to never choose fights. Doesn't matter if it's the number one or the last in the ranking, you have to fight because you never know about tomorrow. If you're a champion, you'll be a champion by fighting the first or the last in the ranking," Aldo told MMA Fighting he is always willing to take on all comers.


FIGHT STATS IN UFC

Dillashaw:

- Dillashaw has a significant strike accuracy of 41 per cent, having landed with 1005 of 2438 such attempts.

- Of the 56 takedowns he has attempted, Dillashaw has landed 21 for a success rate of 38 per cent.

- He lands 5.37 significant strikes per minute and absorbs 3.03.

- In terms of defense, Dillashaw has seen off 66 per cent of significant strikes and guarded against 86 per cent of takedown attempts.

Aldo:

- From the 2391 significant strikes Aldo has attempted, he has connected with 1056 - a success rate of 44 per cent.

- Aldo has landed 12 of 20 takedowns (a 65 per cent success rate).

- He lands 3.47 significant strikes per minute and absorbs 3.18.

- Aldo has seen off 65 per cent of significant strikes against him and impressively guarded against 92 per cent of take downs.

Kamaru Usman has steamrollered his way through UFC's welterweight division but Jorge Masvidal's is a noteable name not on the resume of the 'Nigerian Nightmare'.

After trading barbs on social media and almost coming to blows at Super Bowl LIV's Radio Row earlier this year, it is surely a question of when not if these two will settle their score in the ring.

Usman's only professional MMA defeat came way back in 2013 and he has yet to be beaten in UFC, with the biggest names in the 170lbs division unable to stop his juggernaut.

Masvidal has never been one to shy from a challenge, though, and after a stellar 2019 'Gamebred' is more than worthy of his shot at the welterweight title.

In the penultimate edition of our UFC dream fights we would love to see series, we take a closer look at Usman and Masvidal's records in the Octagon.

WHY DO WE WANT TO SEE THIS FIGHT?

Of the four top-ranked welterweights below the champion, Usman has defeated three of them (albeit he beat Leon Edwards five years ago now).

After ending Tyron Woodley's impressive reign, Usman silenced the big-mouthed Colby Covington. It means there are few challenges left to conquer in the division.

Enter Masvidal. A man with a gift for talking who can back it up in the Octagon, this one – to lend a quote from legendary wrestling commentator Jim Ross – could well be a slobberkocker.


GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS

There's a reason they call him the 'Nigerian Nightmare'. Usman's record is phenomenal. Huge wins over Demian Maia and Rafael dos Anjos led to a title fight with the great Woodley, which he won via decision a little over a year ago.

His first defence ended in a fifth-round stoppage of Covington in a gruelling encounter in December.

While Masvidal has been around the game for a long time, it was three hugely impressive and significant victories in 2019 that saw the veteran soar to prominence.

It started with a second-round knockout of Darren Till, was followed up with a shock five-second triumph over Ben Askren and culminated when he defeated Nate Diaz in a brutal bout to win the UFC's BMF belt.


WHAT'S THEIR MMA RECORD (W-L-D)?

Usman: 16-1-0

Masvidal: 35-13-0


TALE OF THE TAPE

Usman:

Age: 32
Height: 6'0" (182cm)
Weight: 170lbs (77kg)
Reach: 76"
Leg Reach: 41"

Masvidal:

Age: 35
Height: 5'11" (180cm)
Weight: 170lbs (77kg)
Reach: 74"
Leg Reach: 39"


WHAT THEY'VE SAID ABOUT A POTENTIAL FIGHT

"We are at a 100 per cent. This is a guy that I've said it over and over again. Anything that you say to me can and will be used against you and he has just stepped over that line to where it's 100 per cent that's the fight I want. That's the fight that makes sense. That is the next victim," Usman made it clear Masvidal is his next target in an interview with ESPN.

"I'm not gonna tell so-and-so, I'm gonna tell you to your face, that's how much a man I am. I'm gonna f*** you up when we get this fight signed. It's gonna happen, and I'm gonna f*** you up. And that's it. From there, I just told him that I'm getting ready to walk away; I just want to say my piece, and he went all crazy and s***, like 'do somethin', do somethin'," Masvidal on his confrontation with Usman earlier this year.


FIGHT STATS IN UFC

Usman:

- Usman has landed with 843 of his 1594 attempted significant strikes. A success rate of 53 per cent.

- Of the 83 takedowns Usman has attempted, he has completed 42 (51 per cent success rate).

- In defense, Usman has avoided 60 per cent of significant strikes against him and remarkably 100 per cent of takedown attempts.

- From his significant strikes, 51 per cent have come from a standing position.

Masvidal:

- Masvidal has a significant strike accuracy of 49 per cent. 967 of his 1,957 attempted strikes have landed.

- The Miami native has completed 15 of 31 takedown attempts.

- In terms of defensive abilities, Masvidal has protected himself against 67 per cent of significant strikes and 78 per cent of takedown attempts.

- In terms of targets for striking, 526 (62 per cent) have landed on the head, with 204 (24 per cent) and 122 (14 per cent) to the body and legs.

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