"My first option when Tony's out, I tell, 'Hey, where's Conor? I need Conor. He's champ. Bring this guy.'"
That was Khabib Nurmagomedov's reaction when he found out Tony Ferguson injured himself and couldn't fight at UFC 223 ... he wanted Conor McGregor first, not Max Holloway.
"When UFC call [Conor], he say, 'Oh, I am not ready,'" Khabib tells TMZ Sports.
For the record, Dana White says he didn't want to rush Conor into a short-notice fight because he wants more time to promote a McGregor scrap. Plus, weight could have been an issue.
Instead, UFC booked Holloway -- and Khabib says he's 100% confident he'll smash the Hawaiian easily.
In fact, Khabib says he's already thinking about his next opponent ... and it ain't Conor -- it's another UFC legend.
"After this fight, I'm gonna ask UFC -- 'Hey, Madison Square Garden, me vs. Georges St. Pierre. November. 155 (pounds)."
Khabib had a message for Ferguson, too ... and he didn't hold back.