CONOR McGREGOR has been told the ‘stars could align’ for a Khabib Nurmagomedov rematch before April.
But the Irishman would need to return to the win column before the end of this year.
But McGregor has demanded the fight take place before the end of the year with the UFC instead targeting a January 23 headliner.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s trainer Javier Mendez senses the former two-division champion is in a hurry to return as quickly as possible.
It would give McGregor more time to campaign for a rematch against Khabib, with the Russian out of action after April 12 due to Ramadan.
Mendez told SunSport: “Conor did say it has to be before the end of this year.
“Think about this – Khabib will not fight past the end of April next year.
“So if the stars align properly, based off what Conor is saying, then he could want to put himself in that picture for next year.
“He has to beat Dustin and then obviously that makes sense.”
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McGregor last fought in January, knocking out 37-year-old Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds.
But he was retired by June having grown frustrated at the lack of activity following the coronavirus pandemic.
At the same time, Justin Gaethje, 31, leapfrogged McGregor in the title picture after winning the interim belt.
It sets him up with a unification against unbeaten Khabib, 32, at UFC 254 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
Before McGregor can hope to face Nurmagomedov once more, having lost in 2018, the Russian has to first retain his title against American Gaethje.
Only then can UFC boss Dana White propose a lucrative rematch between the bitter rivals.
Mendez said: “First we have to get past Gaethje, and I’m not overlooking Gaethje, but then we have to see what the UFC offers.
“We can want whoever we want, right? But if the UFC doesn’t offer us that match then we don’t get it.
“We have to be victorious and then we’ll see what Dana offers us.”