Reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has heard all the interviews and press events that Conor McGregor has held in recent months. And as far as the unbeaten Nurmagomedov is concerned, it is all just talk by his former opponent.

Nurmagomedov scored a fourth round submission victory over McGregor last year. He also unified the UFC titles when he defeated Dustin Poirier more recently.

“Honestly, I don’t think he wants that fight,” Nurmagomedov said during a Q&A in Russia (thanks to RT Sport for the quotes). “I beat him up for four rounds. I beat him and choked him and he tapped. It was a sign he didn’t want to be there. ‘Let me go please’ and all that. Now he wants a rematch.

“He has to earn it. We’re in the fourth year since his last victory. In order to fight for the title, I had to win 10 fights in a row in the UFC, not counting the 16 victories I had outside the UFC. In ever fight I earned it not with my mouth, but with my actions. That’s where we’re different. He talks about it, I do it.”

McGregor is expected to return to action in early 2020 against Donald Cerrone, and he has also made remarks regarding a rematch with Nurmagomedov in Russia. As for the champion, most signs point to a collision with Tony Ferguson next.