UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov doesn't think Conor McGregor has any interest in facing a challenging opponent.
"I think he's just ducking tough matchups; not only Justin Gaethje," Nurmagomedov told TMZ Sports. "He just chooses, 'OK, who's going to be my next fight? I need easy fights.' Of course, he can because he's a big star."
McGregor does not have his next fight scheduled, but ESPN's Ariel Helwani said Monday that Gaethje, who has scored three straight finishes, is the current front-runner.
The former two-division champion returned to the Octagon last month, defeating Donald Cerrone just 40 seconds into their welterweight fight at UFC 246. Nurmagomedov said that because "Cowboy" entered the bout with a 4-6 record over his past 10 fights, it wasn't a very credible win.
"Conor picked a very good opponent," Nurmagomedov said. "Now, he came back and beat Cowboy ... and they talk about, 'OK, this guy (came) back.' No, he has to fight with really tough opponents, like Justin Gaethje or something like this. He has to fight, and he has to come back to the lightweight division. He has to cut weight."
McGregor has expressed interest in a rematch against Nurmagomedov, who will defend the 155-pound title against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 in April. The Russian submitted McGregor at UFC 229 in October 2018 in one of the biggest fights in the promotion's history.
"The Eagle" has shut down a second fight with McGregor several times. He said it would make a lot of money and be highly anticipated but doesn't make sense from a competition standpoint.
"If you ask people, 'OK, guys, what do you think, guys, who is gonna win?,' 99% is gonna say, 'Khabib, like he did the first time,'" Nurmagomedov said. "People just wanna see big drama show, only for this one.
"If we're talking about money, this is good. If we're talking about drama, this is good. If we're talking about real lightweight contender or real lightweight championship fight, this is not good."