Michael Bisping believes Conor McGregor can tempt Khabib Nurmagomedov out of retirement at UFC 257 with another stunning first round knockout.
Like the rest of the MMA world, ‘The Count’ is eagerly awaiting the return of McGregor on Fight Island this Saturday night.
Conor McGregor will be back in the octagon at UFC 257 against Dustin PoirierGetty Images – Getty
Having not been seen inside the octagon for more than a year since his 40-second demolition job of Donald Cerrone, ‘The Notorious’ returns to lightweight to face a top contender in Poirier.
Six years on from their first fight at featherweight, a victory for either man now will surely leave them just one win away from UFC gold.
With Khabib Nurmagomedov still retired and only willing to return if he ‘sees something spectacular’ from the main event, the title is currently in a state of limbo.
However, Bisping believes another quick stoppage for McGregor like the one at UFC 178 all those years ago will set up a rematch with bitter rival Khabib.
Khabib beat McGregor when they met in 2018 at UFC 229USA TODAY Sports
Bisping told talkSPORT.com: “Khabib has said he has got no interest either Conor McGregor or Dustin Poirier, unless they show him something special.
“And who knows? Maybe they will show him something special, I mean what more does Conor have to do as it doesn’t get much more special than the way he wins fights? Knocking someone out in the first round.
“If he does that, it is as special as it gets! I would love to see a rematch with Khabib, I really would. I mean, who else is there?
“Yeah there are other fights that I would like to see, that are interesting. I mean, Conor is such a star and such an attractive personality that any time he fights it becomes must-see TV.
The first fight at UFC 178 failed to make it out of the first roundGetty Images – Getty
“But no other name on the roster is going to excite me as much as a rematch with Nurmagomedov. That’s probably the same with Poirier.
“He has beaten Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira is an incredibly good fighter but he doesn’t have that star power. I think Nurmagomedov is realistically it.
“Of course if Max Holloway comes up, Dustin Poirier has already beaten him twice, Conor has already beaten him and rematches never go the same so you never know.
“But Nurmagomedov is the fight everyone wants to see.”
Bisping famously knocked out Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 to become middleweight championGetty Images – Getty
The similarities between ‘The Diamond’ and Bisping are almost eerie; both men are veterans of the UFC, fan favourites for their warrior spirit and possess a never-say-die attitude.
The Englishman enjoyed two of his greatest ever nights inside the octagon against Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson in 2016 – with both fights rematches of earlier defeats in his career.
But even though Bisping was able to knock out Rockhold at UFC 199 and then avenge his UFC 100 knockout to Henderson in Manchester, the former UFC middleweight champion believes McGregor will prove too much for Poirier on Fight Island.
“Poirier needs to wrestle,” he added. “He needs to drag it to the later rounds, easier said than done.
‘The Count’ then avenged his defeat to Dan Henderson in ManchesterGetty Images – Getty
“Everyone tries to do it to McGregor, I tried to do it to Vitor Belfort and it didn’t go my way. People say, ‘Oh just grab hold of him and push him against the fence’. Of course they have an answer for that.
“But Dustin is good at doing that, he comes from a good team, he has a great coach and it is a rematch so he has been in there and he knows what it feels like physically. So he has a great advantage there and I think he takes a shot better because he is not cutting down to 145lbs.
“I think it goes longer than the first one, but if you want a pick, I think McGregor gets a knockout late in round two.”
BT Sport Box Office will show UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 exclusively live from 3am on Saturday 23rd January. UFC 257 can be watched on BT TV, Virgin TV, Sky, online via the web or the BT Sport Box Office App and is available to buy at www.bt.com/sportboxoffice
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