UFC star Nate Diaz emphatically insisted he has not quit mixed martial arts by declaring "I'm never going to retire."

Diaz called for a rematch after he was stopped at the end of the third round in his bout against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244 last weekend, due to a cut over his right eye.

The 34-year-old this week appeared to suggest his fighting days were over when he posted on Instagram: "F*** a rematch this s*** was over before it started. I'm goin [sic] on out on tour. Peace out fight game."

Diaz has now set the record straight, vowing that he is not finished yet.

"Who said I was retired? I'll fight tonight," the American told ESPN.

"I'll fight forever. I'm never going to retire, that's for sure."

BMF champion Masvidal had posted a picture of himself and Diaz in the Octagon on Saturday and written: "Heard it might be true, if so it was fun sharing the #cage with you.

"Whenever you get that itch again, let's run it back. I'm gonna go make this paper in the mean time."

Jorge Masvidal claimed the BMF belt against Nate Diaz when the doctor controversially stopped the fight after the third round at UFC 244.

With United States president Donald Trump and superstar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson watching in New York, Masvidal benefited from a third-round TKO after Diaz had a big cut over his right eye.

The doctor did not let the blockbuster bout continue at Madison Square Garden, where the non-title welterweight clash headlined UFC 244.

"I didn't think they were gonna stop it, I was just getting started," Diaz said afterwards. "I had a little bit of an issue so I couldn't run as much as I usually do.

"I wasn't going to push until round four. He did what he was supposed to, so props to Jorge. But we're running this back, mother*****." 

Masvidal almost definitely won the first two rounds and possibly the third after Trump's arrival in New York was met with a chorus of boos.

Diaz tried to ignore the doctor and keep fighting, while veteran welterweight Masvidal wanted to continue as he expressed a desire for a rematch.

"I told Nate right now, I swear we're running it back," Masvidal said. "You gave me the love, let's run it back. I hate leaving the cage with my opponent conscious.

"There's only one way to do it, and that's to baptise him. I didn't get to baptise Nate."


The Washington Nationals are the newly crowned world champions in baseball, the NFL's trade deadline is boring and an injury to Stephen Curry has left Golden State in a hole

A lot has certainly happened this week - learn more below.


1. Washington Nationals come from behind to win World Series

This was not supposed to happen. The Nationals started the year 19-31 but made the playoffs in the National League on a wildcard berth. But still, they had to face an Astros team with home-field advantage that won 107 games and 61 at home in 2019. Washington were not supposed to win a title.

But, after falling behind 3-2 in the series, the Nationals won two straight games over the Astros at Minute Maid Park coming from behind in both games to take the first championship in the history of the organisation.

The Astros won 117 games in total in 2019 but it just was not quite enough. Stephen Strasburg was named the World Series MVP after winning two games while Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto were huge contributors as well. Now the eyes of MLB turn to the postseason where Strasburg has a chance to be a free agent while Astros ace Gerrit Cole absolutely will be.


2. What a boring deadline

The NFL is not the NBA or MLB. The league does not have a crazy eventful trade deadline, but after a 2018 year full of moves we thought we were going to have some drama on Tuesday. Instead, when it was all said and done, there was just one trade made before things wrapped up.

There were plenty of trades that happened leading up to the deadline, as Jalen Ramsey went to the Rams and Marcus Peters went to the Ravens, but all in all, this one was kind of boring. Teams appear happy to stand pat and hope their rosters are good enough to win titles already.


3. Stephen Curry breaks hand

For the Golden State Warriors, this season just went from bad to worse. After starting out 1-2, Golden State were simply trying to get a win against a surprisingly competitive Phoenix Suns team in the early going. But what they actually got was a loss and an injury to their star player.

Stephen Curry broke his hand on a bad fall on Wednesday and he may be out for an extended period of time because of the injury. The Warriors were already going to be without Klay Thompsonfor the majority of the year, but now they will also be without the two-time MVP for an extended period of time.

D'Angelo Russell will likely have to lead a team of rookies and youngsters for the next few months, which is not the news the Golden State fans thought they were going to get before the year started.


4. UFC 244 already full of drama

While UFC 244 was actually pretty tame in the weeks leading up to it, with main event competitors Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal very respectful to each another, the drama really kicked up a notch in the last week.

First, Diaz announced he would not be fighting after he was told he tested for elevated levels of a banned substance. He said he would not compete if his name was not immediately cleared. Then, in the last couple of days, Liverpool's Darren Till ran into visa issues which put his fight with Kelvin Gastelum at risk as well.

But, it appears things have calmed down as the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the UFC almost instantly cleared Diaz and Till has reportedly overcome his visa issues while landing in New York on Thursday.

It's been a very dramatic week ahead of what promises to be an awesome fight weekend.

Donald Cerrone has put the pressure on Conor McGregor to "sign the deal" after the Irishman announced his UFC comeback.

McGregor, a former two-weight world champion, revealed last week during an event in Russia he intended to return to the octagon on January 18, though he did not offer any information on an opponent.

The fight would be the 31-year-old's first since he was defeated by Khabib Nurmagomedov in a lightweight title bout in October 2018. 

Cerrone claimed McGregor's representatives have been in touch and has now urged them to push forward and finalise terms.

"I think it's gonna happen this time," Cerrone told TMZ Sports. "I really do. Conor's really serious about making a comeback.

"Both teams have reached out and are trying to figure it out, it's looking good though. This would be a huge fight, I don't understand why his team wouldn't want to be engaged.

"It's gonna be a fun fight! He's a great fighter. I'm not taking anything away from him by any means, he's got a lot of punching power and it should be a good time.

"Sign the damn deal, man, let's get this done!"

Cerrone and McGregor were reportedly slated to meet in 2019 but the fight was cancelled for unknown reasons.

Tyson Fury has revealed he anticipates retiring from boxing in 2020 as he outlined his intention to have three bouts next year.

The former unified heavyweight champion of the world makes his WWE debut on October 31, facing Braun Strowman at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia.

Following his move into sports entertainment, Fury expects to return to the ring against Deontay Wilder in February.

However, the 31-year-old has suggested he will have wrapped up his boxing career by the end of 2020.

"Hopefully I have three fights next year, Wilder in February, Wilder in June and then maybe a farewell fight in December," Fury told BBC Sport.

"Boxing's a young man's game. I don't want to be in longer than I need to.

"I am 31, getting long in the tooth for the sport. There are young men coming up and Father Time catches up with everyone.

"I have five kids at home and a wife and I think it would be nice to spend a bit of time with those people after the sacrifices I have made my whole life."

Fury added he sees no issues with his schedule should a February 22 bout with Wilder be confirmed.

"I only do boxing and sparring in camp anyway," said Fury. "I will have a six-week camp. I am already on weight, already fit, so will work on some boxing and sparring and we are in.

"It's not always been that way. Usually I come out of a fight, put six stone on, have a mountain to climb, sap all my energy in the gym, and it would be so taxing I wouldn't want to go back.

"Now I am the same weight today as when I fought Tom Schwarz in June. I watch what I eat now and train every day, only Sundays off. So I go in now fit, ready to fight."

Fury even suggested he could venture into mixed martial arts before 2019 is out, telling reporters: "I might have an MMA fight before Christmas if I'm not busy, I just need to find someone who's prepared to fall over."

UFC star Conor McGregor, however, will not be considered as an opponent.

"Are you crazy? McGregor is 10 stone. I'm 20 stone. It wouldn't be very fair with five McGregors and 10 Floyd Mayweathers as well," Fury added.

The NFL trade deadline is just around the corner and there are notes galore.

The Washington Nationals are up 2-0 in the World Series and the best team in baseball are on the ropes.

And Conor McGregor said he has a fight lined up but Dana White will not confirm it.

It has been a full week in U.S. Sports.


1. NFL teams making moves as trade deadline approaches

The NFL trade deadline is 16:00 ET on Tuesday and things are starting to heat up.

First, there have already been several moves as the Atlanta Falcons have traded wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to the New England Patriots, the Oakland Raiders have moved cornerback Gareon Conley to the Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos have dealt wideout Emmanuel Sanders to the San Francisco 49ers.

But that is not all. The Patriots have also placed wideout Josh Gordon on injured reserve with a knee injury, but the expectation is he will be cut once he is healthy and will pass through waivers to be picked up by another team.

This is only the beginning. After the NFL moved the trade deadline back from Week 6 to Week 8 in recent years, there has been a lot more action around the final date. This season expects to be the same as there are even rumours of the Broncos moving Pro Bowl corner Chris Harris in the coming days. We have an exciting weekend ahead of us.


2. Nationals lead Astros in World Series

Not a lot of people saw this coming. Some individuals who knew the Nationals might not have been surprised at Washington taking one of two games in Houston or possibly even both, but very few saw a 2-0 lead heading into Game 3 in D.C. and a 12-3 blowout in Game 2.

The Nationals have beaten Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander in back-to-back games, marking just the third time that has happened all year and the first time it has occurred at Minute Maid Park. 

And now, Washington have Anibal Sanchez on the bump for Game 3 and Patrick Corbin lined up for Game 4, while the Astros are almost certain to go with a bullpen game in two days, possibly with their postseason lives on the line.

This one almost looks in the bag for Washington as teams that have gone up 2-0 in the World Series are 22-3 in the last 25 occurrences. The Astros may be done, but Zack Greinke will do all he can to keep that from being inevitable in Game 3 on Friday.


3. NBA season starts without Williamson

The NBA season is underway as the Los Angeles Clippers dropped the Los Angeles Lakers in the opener, Kyrie Irving scored 50 points in his Brooklyn Nets debut which ended in a loss, and the Kemba Walker era began with the Boston Celtics being thoroughly handled by the Philadelphia 76ers.

But as the festivities begin, some of the lustre is off the opening of the season as top pick pick Zion Williamson will not be playing for six to eight weeks while he is dealing with a knee injury.

Williamson was the prohibitive favourite to win the Rookie of the Year Award, but now the honour is wide open for Ja Morant, RJ Barrett or even PJ Washington to take control.

While that award has somewhat been put on hold, we wait for the inevitable arrival of New Orleans Pelicans sensation Williamson and the obvious hype to come with it.


4. McGregor continues to blow smoke

The former two-class UFC champion claimed he has a fight lined up for January 18 and plans to make his return to the Octagon against an unnamed opponent.

This comes less than a week after he "set up" a fight with Frankie Edgar on Twitter only to see UFC president Dana White shoot it down almost immediately.

White said after McGregor's declaration that he had a January 18 fight set up that nothing was even close to being done but he is targeting that date for a return.

We will see what actually happens in the long run, but here us hoping Justin Gaethje gets that shot. 

Conor McGregor has announced he will make his UFC return against an unconfirmed opponent on January 18.

Former two-weight world champion McGregor told a news conference in Moscow his comeback will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas next year.

The 31-year-old has not appeared in the octagon since he was submitted in the fourth round of a lightweight title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.

The bout was overshadowed by a brawl in the aftermath and both fighters were handed suspensions, with McGregor subsequently claiming he had retired from mixed martial arts.

However, the Irishman will be back in action in three months and has his sights set on a rematch with Nurmagomedov and a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz, against whom he suffered his first UFC defeat in March 2016.

"I wish to compete here in Moscow, Russia. We know that, we know what belt I'm seeking in Mother Russia. The people of Russia deserve this inevitable rematch [against Nurmagomedov] to take place here in Moscow and it will happen," said McGregor.

"However, I'm not waiting around for that man. That man is a known pull-out, a known fearer of risk. He does not take risk so I'm not waiting around. I'd like to announce to the public the return of 'The Notorious' Conor McGregor will take place on January 18 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"That is my comeback fight. It is 12 weeks this Saturday. I am in prime physical condition. I have agreed the date with the company. As far as the opponent, I have the opponent's name, but from experience if I was to give you the name I know the UFC would flip it because they are a crafty company. So ask the UFC who the opponent is, because I do not give a f*** who the opponent is.

"That will be the beginning of my season. I will then look to compete against the winner of Nate Diaz-Jorge Masvidal. Obviously, I have history with Nate Diaz.

"Then I will seek the Moscow bout against the winner of Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. That is the bout we want. We want it in Moscow.

"It is a rematch I will come in sharp, fresh. I will have no injuries, I will have no alcohol, I will have no outside influences. I will be fully focused ... and we will settle it once and for all."

McGregor added: "I am going to go through the entire roster like a chainsaw through butter. Make no mistake about that."

ESPN reported Donald Cerrone and Justin Gaethje are leading candidates for the January bout.

Conor McGregor has announced he will make his UFC return against an unconfirmed opponent on January 18.

Israel Adesanya declared "there is no one like me" and said if he could sing even Justin Bieber would not have a job after dethroning middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in front of a record-breaking Melbourne crowd at UFC 243.

Interim champion Adesanya scored a stunning second-round knockout at Marvel Stadium, where 57,127 fans were in attendance, to become the undisputed champion in the division.

Australian Whittaker had already been floored by a huge right hook late in the first round and a stinging left in the second brought an end to the bout.

Adesanya made a grandstand entrance with a choreographed dance routine and the Nigeria-born New Zealander said his confident arrival was something he had planned to do in the past.

"I tried to do that in the Anderson Silva fight in February and the UFC were like, 'no, we can't have that'," he said.

"This fight is my show. I'm headlining this b****, so I was going to do it my way.

"Who else, on this kind of stage, is going to do that before they go in and whoop some ass? If I could sing, trust me - Justin Bieber wouldn't even have a job." 

Adesanya had no doubts he would pull off the victory, but confessed the gravitas of his achievement was still sinking in.

"It feels like I'm still lucid dreaming," added the 30-year-old. "You might see me do weird things, just to see if I'm dreaming.

"I said it was one my toughest tests, but that I'd make it look easy. I told you guys that.

"When I saw him walk out, he was too intense. You can't fake that s***, pull the hoodie over your eyes.

"I can smell it off him, that he wasn't with it. He was doing the right moves, but there was no feeling behind it.

"I saw everything coming. He hit me a few times, but I just showed that I can take and give it as well."

Whittaker had won his previous nine fights and vowed to rebound from the setback.

"Hats off to Adesanya, a great striker," he said. 

"I felt I was doing pretty well until you get caught. I'm only 28. I've still got a fight or two yet. I'm not going anywhere."

Conor McGregor wants a rematch against Khabib Nurmagomedov in Moscow, but the UFC lightweight champion was only thinking about planning his next meal after defeating Dustin Poirier.

In his first outing since a win against McGregor in October 2018 that was overshadowed by an ugly post-fight brawl, Nurmagomedov moved to 28-0 by submitting Poirier in the third round at UFC 242.

The Irishman has since claimed to have retired following the loss last year, but he was quick to request another shot at the Russian following Saturday's result in Abu Dhabi.

McGregor tweeted: "Book my rematch for Moscow."

However, UFC president Dana White stated that Tony Ferguson is next in line for Nurmagomedov, though McGregor offers a logical back-up option.

"Tony Ferguson gets the next shot and obviously if for whatever reason Tony can't take the fight or doesn't want the fight at that time, then we would figure out what would be next," said White.

"But yeah, Conor would make a lot of sense. Conor McGregor wants that fight really badly and I'm sure the fans would want to see it. So we'll see how this whole thing plays out."

Nurmagomedov was keen to avoid becoming embroiled in such discussions, with his focus set on his post-fight meal.

"You know what's interesting in this sport; even if you're 28-0 in MMA, 12-0 in UFC, you're one of the biggest stars, you smash everybody, people talk about how you have to fight with him, you have to fight with him, you have to fight with him. Just give me respect," he said.

"My next opponent is a very good steak, with a burger and double cheese. I want this. With some juice with ice. I want to enjoy it. Give me a couple of days please."

But when the subject turned to former two-weight world champion Georges St-Pierre, widely considered the greatest MMA fighter of all time but retired since February, Nurmagomedov could not hide his interest.

He said: "Georges St-Pierre is a great guy, great champion, great athlete – he's a very good example for young kids. I know he's retired but if he wants to come back, if he feels hungry, if he feels he can improve his legacy with a fight with me and he can make 155 [pounds], I'm waiting for him."

Nurmagomedov ruled out an imminent change in division, though acknowledged a step up to welterweight could come in the future, while also expressing a desire to raise money with a charity fight in Africa.

"If the UFC have a big, big fight, they can build an arena somewhere like Congo, Nigeria, Somalia or Sudan, whatever. Fight there, make money and do some charity stuff," he said.

"Africa is in a very bad situation with a lot of people dying because they don't have drinking water. We can do this, let's go. If UFC support it, I'm going to support it too.

"Maybe I can fight with Georges St-Pierre. Georges St-Pierre is a very big star. They can build an arena in three months and maybe in January, February or March we can fight in somewhere like Congo, why not?

"And all the money we make we can use on charity, on Africa or somewhere. Maybe they can make $50 million, maybe 40m, even if they make 30m for one night and give all this money for people – I like this kind of stuff."

Khabib Nurmagomedov said he has the utmost respect for his beaten UFC 242 opponent Dustin Poirier, while taking a shot at fierce rival Conor McGregor.

The lightweight champion remained undefeated (28-0-0) with his third-round rear naked choke of Poirier (25-6, 1 NC) on Saturday.

After the fight, Nurmagomedov paid tribute to Poirier, but the goodwill certainly did not extend towards McGregor – who he defeated at UFC 229 in a bout marred by an ugly post-fight brawl.

Nurmagomedov wore a t-shirt in the ring and said he would be selling it and giving all of the proceeds to Poirier and his family.

"Why I wear this t-shirt, I know that's going to go to a lot of charity stuff, guys, make sure I'm going to sell this t-shirt, all this money I'm going to send Dustin Poirier," he said.

"This is what I want, you know, and why we have so much respect between us before the fight than my last fight? You know [McGregor] was a b******* guy, I have to work [with] a lot of crazy stuff, but I want to forget everything.

"We show really what is MMA. MMA's number one thing is respect. When you come [to the] gym, the first thing what your coach, everybody teaches you, hey, you have to respect the gym, you have to respect team-mates, coaches, you have to clean your gym, everything's about respect.

"MMA's not about trash talking, you know, this is what we show it with, that's important."

Nurmagomedov was fighting for the first time since serving a nine-month suspension for his actions after his victory over McGregor, with the duo having been involved in an ill-tempered build-up.

The champion scaled the cage after his win and got into a fight with McGregor's training partner Dillon Danis which then incited a brawl that went from the stands and into the ring.

Khabib Nurmagomedov unified the lightweight title at UFC 242 with a rear naked choke in the third round on interim champion Dustin Poirier on Saturday.

Nurmagomedov constantly pressured his opponent throughout the fight while getting through a big blow in the second round to retain his belt against Poirier, who was interim champion.

It was the Russian's first fight since serving a lengthy suspension for his part in the ugly melee that followed his victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 229, but Nurmagomedov did not miss a step.

Nurmagomedov (28-0-0) controlled the fight from the get-go grabbing a takedown approximately one minute and 50 seconds into the fight.

From there, he grabbed two more takedowns, put a vicious neck crank on Poirier (25-6, 1 NC) and landed a vicious elbow to go with some ground-and-pound at the end of the round.

Poirier wobbled Nurmagomedov with a big shot early in round two, but the champion was able to recover and landed a takedown a little more than a minute in.

Nurmagomedov also cut Poirier later on the in the round and that clearly bothered the interim champ down the stretch.

Poirier then was able to grab a guillotine in the third round, but Nurmagomedov fought through it once again and continued to keep the pressure on his opponent.

Nurmagomedov was able to lock up the rear naked choke to end the fight for good.

After another dominant win, it remains to be seen if UFC can finally make the Nurmagomedov versus Tony Ferguson fight with the duo having been tipped to fight for years, but is yet to happen largely due to injuries.

Drug bans mean Jon Jones and Anderson Silva cannot be considered on a par with Georges St-Pierre as the greatest UFC fighter of all time, according to Michael Bisping.

Canadian St-Pierre claimed titles at welterweight and middleweight, the latter by submitting then-champion Bisping in round three of his divisional debut at UFC 217.

The 38-year-old retired in February and ruled out a comeback in August but sits level with Jon Jones at the top of the list for most wins in title bouts (13) and is joint-third in terms of UFC victories (20).

Jones, the dominant force in the light heavyweight division since 2011, and former middleweight king Anderson Silva, who holds the record for the longest title reign in UFC history, are also considered to be among the greatest MMA fighters.

However, Bisping thinks the fact Jones and Silva tested positive for banned substances during their respective careers gives St-Pierre the upper hand in the 'GOAT' conversation.

Asked who the greatest of all time is by Omnisport at the launch of his book 'Quitters Never Win', Bisping replied: "The first person that sprung to my mind is Jon Jones, but he's had his problems with performance-enhancing drugs so there's definitely a stigma.

"Anderson Silva, same thing, he springs to mind but he had his problems with performance-enhancing drugs as well – any time there's an asterisk next to your name like that, it eliminates you from the conversation.

"Georges St-Pierre would have to be the one, I think. One hundred per cent. He did it clean, he never tested positive for anything, he's a tremendous ambassador for the sport.

"He's a gentleman inside and outside the octagon, he's a consummate professional, he's a great person and he's one hell of a fighter. I'd say the greatest of all time is Georges St-Pierre."


Quitters Never Win by Michael Bisping is out now, published by Ebury Press.

The eyes of the MMA world will be locked on Khabib Nurmagomedov when he makes an eagerly awaited return at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

It has been 11 months since Nurmagomedov last fought in Las Vegas, where his excellent victory over Conor McGregor was marred by an ugly post-fight melee.

But Nurmagomedov remains one of UFC's greatest attractions and the battle for supremacy in the lightweight division is on when he goes head-to-head with interim champion Dustin Poirier.

Ahead of the bout, we take a look at some of the key questions for what promises to be a blockbuster main event.

What happened at UFC 229?

Oh boy…where do you start with this one? The build-up to this was fight was, let's dilute this a little, ugly. Back in April 2018, McGregor was involved in an attack on a bus carrying Nurmagomedov and other fighters. McGregor would eventually be forced to undertake community service and an anger management programme over the incident. So, naturally the scene was set for a red-hot build-up that had many barbs that crossed the line. After Nurmagomedov submitted McGregor in the fourth round the bad blood spilled over, with the Russian launching himself over the cage to fight members of his rival's team, leading to a mass brawl. It was all rather unpleasant, unsavoury and unnecessary, and in truth not a great look for UFC.

What's Khabib been up to since?

The fallout from the ruckus landed McGregor and Nurmagomedov hefty fines and sizeable suspensions, with the latter having been banned for nine months. But it has been a busy year nonetheless. There has been parenting advice from Vladimir Putin, an airport opening with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a meeting with Vladimir Vasilyev, the head of the Republic of Dagestan. There was also time to call out boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr – who has also fought McGregor – and take in trips to watch AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.

Will he fight McGregor again?

In the world of combat sports you should definitely never say never. Nurmagomedov said this year that McGregor does not deserve a rematch and the Irishman's lack of activity in the octagon raises legitimate questions about whether we will see him in UFC again. But money talks and if the stars align and the finances are right then it is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility these great rivals will dance again.

What's Khabib's record like?

In a word: formidable. Nurmagomedov has had 27 fights and earned 27 victories. In a world of the finest margins it is a phenomenally dominant record.

What is his style?

Nurmagomedov is one of the best wrestlers in UFC and no one has been able to defend against his extraordinary grappling and takedown skills. But there are several more strings to his bow, as McGregor found out to his detriment when caught with an awesome overhead right in their bout. Trying to find a weakness in his game is tough.

Who is his opponent Poirier?

Hardcore fight fans will need no introduction to Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert Poirier. The American has notable victories over big hitters like Eddie Alvarez, Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway on his resume – a second win against the latter seeing him named interim lightweight champion in April. 'The Diamond' collected aluminium cans and picked pecans prior to getting into the fight game, landing in MMA having first looked into the possibility of boxing. Poirier is a talented grappler and also has decent stand-up. He is sure to be a tricky customer.

What's been said in the build-up?

There has been no repeat of the ill-tempered baiting prior to the McGregor dust-up, but Nurmagomedov insists the respect he has for his opponent ends on fight night, saying: "Generally, I only have respect for him. That will stop as soon as I enter the octagon. That's where we'll have to fight. If you get into the octagon and you see your opponent, then that's it. You have to compete." Few are tipping Poirier for the upset, but the man himself is full of confidence: "I'm mentally ready for 25 minutes of bleeding and sweating and being uncomfortable. The fans can expect me to put Khabib in positions you haven't see him in. And to hurt him."

Who will win the fight?

At 30, Poirier is a seasoned campaigner and you do not compete for a decade in UFC unless you are highly talented. But Nurmagomedov is as fearsome a fighter as the MMA world has ever seen and will be chomping at the bit to make up for lost time.

Khabib Nurmagomedov will be in for a tough lightweight title defence at UFC 242 if Dustin Poirier can produce a repeat of his display against Max Holloway, says Michael Bisping.

Poirier claimed a unanimous-decision victory over Holloway to claim the interim lightweight title at UFC 236 and earn a shot at Khabib, who will make his return to the octagon following a suspension for his part in the brawl that followed his triumph over Conor McGregor in October 2018.

The formidable Nurmagomedov is undefeated in 27 mixed martial arts bouts but former UFC middleweight champion Bisping feels Poirier could pull off an upset in Abu Dhabi if he is able to keep the fight off the canvas.

"He'll fight the way he always fights – a very wrestling-heavy game plan," Bisping told Omnisport of his expectations for Khabib when promoting his book 'Quitters Never Win'.

"He's probably not going to try to stand with Dustin Poirier, that's not his thing, that's not what he does. He's going to try to take him down.

"Dustin looked tremendous against Max Holloway, I thought he looked the best ever. I actually thought Max would beat Dustin in that fight and Dustin went out there and looked tremendous, his boxing was incredible, conditioning, everything – it was a beautiful performance.

"If that match shows up to fight Khabib, Khabib's got problems. The problem is, can he stop the takedown?

"If he can't stop the takedown, Khabib's on a fast track to victory. I think that's where the fight is going to be won and lost. Can Khabib take him down and can he hold him down?"

Bisping does not expect Khabib to look for a rematch with McGregor, suggesting the Russian is keen to get away from the pantomime and controversy that overshadowed their previous clash.

"I don't think he wants to fight McGregor again, he's been there and done that," said Bisping.

"Khabib doesn't like the negative attention. Khabib's a great person, he's a devout Muslim, he's off building wells I think in Africa in his spare time and that, he's a great person.

"That whole controversy side of things he doesn't like, he doesn't revel in those moments. That's why at those pressers he just sat there and didn't say very much – McGregor did all the talking.

"I think he's happy to distance himself. But this is a huge fight. It's going to be huge for the brand, for the sport, and for Khabib and Dustin."


Quitters never Win by Michael Bisping is out now, published by Ebury Press.

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