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Khabib Nurmagomedov ‘on his way to GOAT status’ if he beats Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, says Dana White in McGregor snub

UFC chief Dana White has handed Conor McGregor an almighty snub - after saying Khabib Nurmagomedov can become the greatest of all time.

White, president of the MMA, reckons the Russian will be 'on his way' to becoming the GOAT if he beats Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 tonight.

Many UFC fans insist Irishman McGregor is the sport's greatest - even though he was beaten by Khabib in one of the most controversial UFC fights ever back in 2018.

White said: "Khabib's a big superstar. But if he beats Justin, he's on his way to GOAT status.

"He's looking down the barrel of not only being the greatest to ever do it in this division but being the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world."

But the Russian certainly cannot match the global popularity and PR appeal of McGregor, who has made millions from the sport.

Khabib has made just a third of what McGregor has achieved.

The pair have been bitter rivals since Khabib, also 32, beat Notorious in their 2018 bout which erupted into a post-fight brawl between the two camps.

The two could hold a grudge rematch in the future.

The Russian has admitted he is a fan of McGregor despite their bitter rivalry.

But a clash between Khabib and boxer Floyd Mayweather is unlikely to get the go-ahead after 'Money' demanded £464million.

Khabib, 32, is overwhelming favourite to dispatch 31-year-old American Gaethje tonight.

Gaethje has two defeats blemishing his record, which includes 22 wins with 19 by knockout.

Khabib could retire if he takes his astonishing UFC record to 30-0 in Las Vegas tonight.

He was asked if he could be regarded the same way as boxing greats Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali. He said: "I don't know if I can ever become close to these people.

"I didn't have this goal - I just want to win every fight. We'll see in the future because I'm not finished yet.

"When I retire, I want to retire undisputed, undefeated UFC lightweight champion."

White has also been quizzed about McGregor stepping back in the Octagon after retiring.

He confirmed that McGregor's fight against Dustin Poirier has not yet been agreed.

The 51-year-old added: "No, the deal's not signed yet.

"But in the history of dealing with Conor McGregor, Conor McGregor has never come out publicly and said, 'I accept this fight' and not fought.

"I expect the fight to go on."

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje look shredded on scales as UFC 254 rivals both weight-in at 155lbs

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