Conor McGregor doubts Khabib Nurmagomedov will return to the cage despite the lightweight champion appearing to open the door to a rematch.
Nurmagomedov announced his retirement last October after his third-round submission win over Justin Gaethje.
UFC president Dana White believed he could convince the Dagestan native to return and the pair held talks in Abu Dhabi last Friday night.
And Nurmagomedov told his boss he is willing to return – if either McGregor or Dustin Poirier impress him in the main event at UFC 257 on Sunday morning.
But in response, McGregor told UFC Arabia: “It was certainly a non-decision and to me it sounded like what I assumed, that it was a no, that he doesn’t want any part of it.
“It was stretched out all day, and it was a maybe, it is what it is. We should go again, the world needs this rivalry to be settled.
“If he doesn’t have it in him,if he doesn’t have the courage then no problem. We’ve been on a mad old ride me and that man and it should be settled but if it’s not, it is what it is.
“The world knows this is unfinished business and if he doesn’t want to engage then that’s on him.
“You can only pull the wool over people’s eyes for so long and it will become more and more evident what the nature of the man is.”
The Irishman has long called for a rematch with the Dagestan native having been choked out in the first round of their 2018 clash.
He told ESPN last week: “I think he’s afraid to fight me. That’s for damn sure and I don’t blame him. I fought the best of him on that night, he fought the worst of me on that night.
“He knows it, I know it, his team knows it. I have the answer to destroy that man, so he can pull the wool over people’s eyes for only so long.
“It is what it is. I know there are surrounding things regarding the family and if he’s retired I wish him well. But I am who I am and I’m at the top so time will show.”
McGregor has fought just once since losing to Nurmagomedov, stopping Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds last January.
There will be no title on the line when he takes on Poirier for a second time next weekend – but victory would likely propel him into another title shot, with or without Nurmagomedov.