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Morning Report: Conor McGregor’s coach Owen Roddy thinks fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov ‘is building’

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UFC 205 Open Workout Photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

At UFC 205, Conor McGregor became the first man in history to hold two UFC titles simultaneously when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez to claim the lightweight strap. Earlier that evening, undefeated lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov beat down Michael Johnson before submitting him with a kimura and then got on the microphone and called out “Dana White’s chicken” for a fight for the belt. Now, almost two years later, we may finally be getting that fight.

Speaking with MMANytt recently, McGregor’s striking coach Owen Roddy addressed the recent rumors that Nurmagomedov would be defending his lightweight belt against McGregor this fall, suggesting that there could be some truth to the talk.

“I can’t confirm anything but it would be great,” Roddy said. “Conor’s training hard, he’s always training. He’s motivated and he wants to fight, it’s just that he gets a few things sorted out and then he sits down and negotiates a good deal for his next fight. I think it will be another big spectacle like they always are. So I’m excited, just like everybody else.”

“I don’t know but I think [Khabib]’s at the forefront. I always say, Conor wants the biggest fights that he can possibly have and I think, at the moment, Khabib seems to be that guy.”

Since UFC 205, McGregor and Nurmagomedov have had starkly divergent paths. McGregor has not fought since then, instead boxing Floyd Mayweather in one of the most lucrative fights of all time, but at the cost of being stripped of both of his UFC titles due to inactivity. Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov has turned in two more dominating performance, including winning the lightweight title McGregor had taken from him by outclassing Al Iaquinta at UFC 223.

Perhaps more important than Nurmagomedov’s title-claiming performance though was McGregor’s performance beforehand. McGregor showed up to a media event before UFC 223 and attacked the bus Nurmagomedov was traveling on, resulting in his arrest and current legal troubles. While UFC President Dana White called the event “the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in UFC history,” it also kicked up a broader interest in a Nurmagomedov-McGregor bout. An interest that Roddy says is reminiscent of McGregor’s boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.

“I’m sure it’s just down to the right negotiations but yeah, I think it is building,” Roddy said. “This kind of started similarly with the Mayweather fight; there was talk, there was a bit of back and forth and a bit of drama and then once the crowd and once the fans get behind it, they ultimately create the fight. It’s brewing up nicely.”

Before any kind of fight plans can be arranged though, McGregor’s team says they need to deal with his legal issues first. He is currently negotiating a plea deal and is set to return to court on July 26. Should everything go well then though, Roddy says McGregor and his coaches are ready to face Nurmagomedov whenever the deal can get done, and they like their chances at getting the belt back.

“The striker’s always at an advantage because you start standing and you start at range,” Roddy said. “The grappler always has to get around that and find his way into the clinch and it’s very, very difficult to do that without taking a big shot off Conor. It’s just about setting traps and putting his opponent in positions where they’re vulnerable. He’s got phenomenal takedown defense. You’ve seen that in some of his other fights. . . He’s no slouch there so we’re more than prepared to fight anybody.”


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TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2004: Frank Mir broke Tim Sylvia’s arm at UFC 48 to become the UFC heavyweight champion. This night also featured the last win of Ken Shamrock’s UFC career, an 86- second knee knockout of Kimo Leopoldo.

2009: Eddie Alvarez became the first Bellator lightweight champion with a rear-naked choke of Toby Imada at Bellator 12. That night, Hector Lombard also became the inaugural middleweight champion by stopping Jared Hess with strikes in the fourth round.

2010: Court McGee won season of 11 of The Ultimate Fighter with submission of Kris McCray at the TUF 11 Finale.

2015: Kimbo Slice knocked out Ken Shamrock at Bellator 138. In the co-main event that evening, Patricio Freire knocked out Daniel Weichel to retain his featherweight title.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Sorry about the delay yesterday. Thanks for bearing with us and as always, thanks for reading. Enjoy the fights tonight and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

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