Khabib Nurmagomedov\'s Plan For Conor McGregor Is To \'change His Face ... His Mind, Too\'

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CALGARY – For UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, the news seemed almost too good to be true.

Now that Conor McGregor’s legal woes are settled in the state of New York, and now that the former two-division champ is back in talks with the UFC to return to the cage, could it be that they’ll really get to fight each other?

“I can’t believe we’re going to fight, because I really want this guy,” Nurmagomedov told reporters Saturday at UFC on FOX 30 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. “Make him humble, a little bit teach him, and not only smash but change his face. I want to change his face. Of course, with face I can change his mind, too.”

>Related>Khabib Nurmagomedov vows to give Conor McGregor drawn-out beating: 'It's going to be jail'

It’s only recently that the fight has started to seem like a real possibility, however. After McGregor’s attack on a bus that contained Nurmagomedov (26-0 MMA, 10-0 UFC) and other fighters prior to UFC 223, the UFC held off on planning a return until McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) had his day in court.

But after a plea deal earlier this week, along with UFC President Dana White’s suggestion that McGregor would face no further punishment from the UFC, a potential bout between McGregor and new champ Nurmagomedov who assumed his title after “The Notorious” was stripped of the belt has begun to seem inevitable.

That’s why, Nurmagomedov admitted, he was pleased to hear that McGregor would avoid jail time or further repercussions from the UFC.

>Related>Daily Debate results: Conor McGregor's best shot at a pay-per-view bonanza? It's Khabib Time!

“To be honest, inside my heart I am a little bit happy about this,” Nurmagomedov said. “Because if he goes to jail, what happens? How I can catch him? How? Only inside the cage.”

As for when that fight might happen, Nurmagomedov votes for sooner rather than later. The UFC is scheduled to return to Las Vegas on Oct. 6 for UFC 229, which sounds just fine to the champ. Of course, the Nov. 3 pay-per-view event at Madison Square Garden would also give the fighters a big stage in the Big Apple, but Nurmagomedov isn’t sure he can wait that long.

“The Eagle” also isn’t sure he’d want to end the fight quickly even if he could, especially after all the bad blood between the two fighters and their respective teams.

>Related>Ray Borg isn't surprised by Conor McGregor's light sentence for bus attack, also not angry>Dana White says Conor McGregor 'has faced a lot of repercussions' in wake of plea deal

“I want a big drama show,” Nurmagomedov said. “A little bit (of) talk(ing) with him, tell him, ‘I know how we have to do this.’ I have a little bit of a plan. Make him tired, make him look bad. Strong, he’s very dangerous. Everybody knows this. I know this, too. If you think I’m going to stay with him like I stayed with (Al) Iaquinta with my Muhammad Ali jab? No way, brother. No way. I’m going to try to take him down. Even if he defend my takedown, he’s going to be tired.”

As for whether the feud will be settled with just one fight, or whether they’ll need more than one meeting before the matter can finally be put to rest, on that Nurmagomedov has some clear opinions.

“How can we fight after this fight when I change his face?” Nurmagomedov said. “Even if I have a chance for a submission or choke, I’m going to keep punishing, talk with him, enjoy inside the cage. I can’t wait.”

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 30, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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