At UFC 205, Conor McGregor knocked out Eddie Alvarez to become the undisputed lightweight champion. Earlier that evening, undefeated No. 1 contender Khabib Nurmagomedov had an impressive showing over Michael Johnson and afterwards called Dana White’s “chicken” for a title fight. That fight didn’t come to fruition then but now it looks like it might.
Speaking recently with The BBC MMA Show, McGregor’s striking coach, Owen Roddy, said that all signs are seemingly pointing towards a fight between his protege and Nurmagomedov.
“There’s been a lot of talk about this Khabib fight and it seems to be brewing towards this one,” said Roddy. “You earn the chance to fight Conor. You have to be worthy to fight him. Khabib is doing very well fighting-wise. I see holes in his game but he’s building a big ruckus. He’s calling [Conor out] now and people are getting behind him and it’s starting to build, and once it gets to that tipping point, I’m sure we’ll see that fight.”
Since sharing a fight card at UFC 205, the paths of McGregor and Nurmagomedov have diverged substantially. McGregor has not competed in MMA since then, instead opting to box Floyd Mayweather in one of the most lucrative fights of all time. His sustained absence from MMA resulted in him being stripped of his lightweight title though and Nurmagomedov recently laid claim to that belt with a dominant decision win over late-replacement Al Iaquinta at UFC 223.
Before that fight card though, McGregor caused a ruckus, crashing a media event and attacking the bus Nurmagomedov was in, seemingly in retaliation for a minor incident earlier in the week between Nurmagomedov and McGregor’s friend, Artem Lobov. McGregor was arrested for the incident, resulting in widespread media attention and laying the groundwork for a potentially enormous promotional build. That build has been in the works for some time though, at least in McGregor’s head, says Roddy.
“Conor’s a mad thing,” Roddy said. “Conor turned around to me just after the Mayweather fight and said, ‘There’s talk of me fighting Khabib. I might do it in Russia.’ Then he says to me, ‘We’ll do it like Rocky. We’ll go to Siberia and we’ll train in the snow. I’ll get one of those yokes to put on my shoulders to get the lats’. I was crying with laughter. He was serious. Dead serious. Conor does mad things. That’s what we love him for. There’s not many people who would do that. It would be an exciting fight. I don’t know what’s going to happen next but I would like to see it.”
McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov is quite possibly the biggest fight in UFC history as each man is the perfect foil for the other. McGregor is one of the most potent strikers in UFC history but has questionable takedown defense, while Nurmagomedov is one of the most dominant grapplers in the sport but has widely lamented striking skills. It would be a throwback stylistic clash between two of the biggest names in the sport having to answer the biggest questions about their games. Can Nurmagomedov take McGregor down? Can McGregor land punches on Nurmagomedov before he closes the distance? Can Nurmagomedov even close the distance? How will McGregor’s cardio hold up to the onslaught of Nurmagomedov? In the end though, Roddy says that since Nurmagomedov isn’t known as a finisher, come fight night, only one question will matter: will Nurmagomedov’s chin handle the punches McGregor will land on him?
“At the end of the day, Khabib hasn’t finished many fights lately,” Roddy said. “Now he always says he does that on purpose, but I don’t think so. If you’re going to go in and finish somebody, you go in and finish them. He says, ‘I like punish people for five rounds.’ I always say, if you’re going to give Conor McGregor five attempts to land a shot on you, so even if he went in and didn’t land the first round, or the second, or the third, or the fourth, he has five attempts to land one shot.
“I’ve seen Conor McGregor go in and land within the first 30 seconds of the first round. You see that against every person he’s fought - MMA fighters, boxers, everybody. He’s so elusive, he’s so good at maintaining the range, he’s so good at giving people shots that they think they can land and then setting up everything off that. I just see him land and not many people can take it. I don’t know if Khabib can take it either.”
Nurmagomedov has indicated he wants to return to defend his title around November and does not wish to wait for McGregor if “Notorious” isn’t ready to go by then. If McGregor does not want to return in that time frame, instead Nurmagomedov has a number of lightweight contenders chomping at the bit for a title fight, including Tony Ferguson, Eddie Alvarez, Dustin Poirier, and Kevin Lee.
Results. Check out the results from Bellator’s latest offering, including the return of Fedor.
Hall of Fame. UFC creator Art Davie to be inducted into Hall of Fame.
Silly. Eddie Alvarez calls Dustin Poirier’s claim he turned down rematch five times ‘silly talk.’
UFC 223: Focus.
Of course you would.
Rogan’s live reaction to Fedor-Mir.
Middle Easy Fist Fight. Discussing what UFC Atlantic City was like cageside.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Update on Ray Borg’s son.
Unfortunately I have to withdraw from my fight against @NeilMagny on May 27th in Liverpool. Last weekend I injured my knee. I will undergo an operation right away and I´ll be out for 8-10 weeks.— Gunnar Nelson (@GunniNelson) April 29, 2018
Longer statement on my fb: https://t.co/ypdDEGRxaN #UFCLiverpool @UFCEurope @ufc pic.twitter.com/bv4Xuc5IDy
Ready to step up.
Hey @NeilMagny heard you need an opponent, I know a guy ! These at 155 don’t want this problem!! I’m a big 155!! So let’s do it!! I bet I finish you in the first round!! @danawhite @seanshelby @AliAbdelaziz00 @ufc @ufc_brasil @canalCombate— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) April 28, 2018
I wonder how many Mama Mia’s I could get out of @mauroranallo if he commentated one of my fights— Justin Gaethje (@Justin_Gaethje) April 29, 2018
Being Conor’s outspoken friend is a good way to build your profile it seems.
Just catching up to #bellator198 @dillondanis said he was the “highest paid fighter in @BellatorMMA” but I think he meant to say “most un-athletic fighter in Bellator” and that was against a man with a losing record. #cringe #slow #sloth #bellator198— Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) April 29, 2018
He realizes this isn’t reality so he feels safe doing so. Maybe he should fight someone with a winning record first https://t.co/X2dGlYTVyI— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) April 29, 2018
Keep an eye on this.
.@NikLentz I lost my guy and you lost yours let’s put on a show for the fans— David Teymur (@DavidTeymur) April 28, 2018
New legit prospect on the block.
For your info.
ARE. YOU. FUCKING. KIDDING. ME.— Julie Kedzie (@julesk_fighter) April 30, 2018
Never made more than 9k TOTAL from a fight purse.
And from sponsors? The most I ever made was when a local dealership surprised me w/ a used Land Rover after I won a belt which was insanely generous—but then it died as they were driving it to me pic.twitter.com/tzRIMkVlNC
Legitimately the worst cut I’ve seen in all my MMA fandom.
Rizvan Liev KOs Alexey Bondarchuk in 1R— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) April 29, 2018
(Berkut Young Eagles) pic.twitter.com/rg9K4x14If
Anzor Shakhmurzaev KOs Igor Litoshik in 1R— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) April 29, 2018
(Berkut Young Eagles) pic.twitter.com/W8kbmf2ofq
dream sweet— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) April 29, 2018
Zaurbek Navruzov sleeps Giorgos Papadopoulos
(Berkut Young Eagles) pic.twitter.com/d2smvtXGrI
beutiful in it's brutality— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) April 29, 2018
Shooto Brasil LW Title Fight - Fabricio Negao sleeps Valmir Lázaro in 2R pic.twitter.com/WK4vwJeXq5
Pedro Nobre KOs Mario Junior Orelha in 1R (Shooto Brasil) pic.twitter.com/GtjOxrHO2X— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) April 29, 2018
Elton Alves wins by brutal TKO (Jungle Fight) pic.twitter.com/iYBk61OYOt— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) April 29, 2018
Limbs are going to be broken all night today— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) April 28, 2018
here is destruction by Arthur Martins (Jungle Fight) pic.twitter.com/dZ82feiLjH
Flipping Head Stomp => Submission at Today's Serbian BC 17— DC (@FightFan_DC) April 28, 2018
Not sure this finish from Michel Pereira (18-8) was legal but it was too awesome to care about stuff like rules@Jolassanda @Grabaka_Hitman @Barrelelapierna pic.twitter.com/Hya1oLoeKs
Liver kicks, head kicks, flying triangles. Great finishes at Celtic Gladiator in Poland today. pic.twitter.com/fmaXyyn2S7— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) April 28, 2018
Just damn. Piotr Poniedziałek KO's Tomasz Terlikowski at Celtic Gladiator 20. Flush high kick + some ruthless follow up punches. pic.twitter.com/7zqzFarPsu— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) April 28, 2018
And the highlight of the weekend.
Dustin Ortiz (18-7) vs. Matteus Nicolau (13-1-1); UFC on FOX 30, July 28.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2011: Georges St-Pierre successfully defended his UFC welterweight title, winning a unanimous decision over Jake Shields at UFC 129. In the co-main event, Jose Aldo successfully defended his featherweight title for the first time in the UFC, winning a unanimous decision over Mark Hominick. This event also saw the final fight in the career of Randy Couture, who was knocked out by a jumping front kick from Lyoto Machida.
Personally, I thought Bellator’s card on Saturday was one of their more enjoyable efforts in recent memory. Maybe that’s just the nostalgia speaking since Fedor actually managed to win one but the whole event definitely felt like it was better than most Bellators as far as interest and fan appeal. I mean, it was no CamSodaLegends but it was definitely fun. Now we just have to hope that somehow Cro Cop gets to sub in against Fedor in the finals.
We’ve got a light fight week this week everybody so stay frosty and see y’all tomorrow.
Fedor vs. Chael, who ya got?
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The Last Emperor
The American Gangster
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