Conor McGregor’s fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 was the biggest fight in UFC history. It had all the elements a truly historic clash. McGregor, the brash talking champion in exile, returning to reclaim his title against a man entirely his opposite, both in style and personality. Nurmagomedov, Combat Sambo Ivan Drago , undefeated for a decade and looking establishing himself as the rightful lightweight champion and “humble” McGregor for disparaging remarks about his country, religion, and family. But while the fight did record-breaking numbers, the actual contest was not a particularly great fight.
Nurmagomedov trounced McGregor, almost from the opening bell, taking “Notorious” down with relative ease and imposing his will. Nurmagomedov even dropped McGregor with an overhand in the second round, and eventually submitted the former two-division champion with a neck crank in the fourth round. But now, several months removed from his loss, McGregor thinks he has the answer for what happened, and wants the chance to fix it.
“He’s a formidable opponent, wrestled bears since he was a kid, has put a lot of time in his standup work,” McGregor told fans in Chicago over the weekend (video courtesy of Mike Pendleton). “He was a lot sharper than I anticipated it was going to be. I’ve got to respect that. It was his big moment.
“It’s easy to do this once. It’s very easy for someone to be given something and to do it just one time. You put your absolute all into it. But to do it time after time and year after year, that’s when the motivation kind of dips, that’s when the dedication kind of lacks, and that’s when people creep up. That’s what I feel has happened here. I didn’t give him his respect, I marched forward, I didn’t give a sh*t, I got caught with that overhand. If I was switched on, I would not get caught with that overhand in any form of combat. I’m very confident, very eager, very in shape, let’s keep it going.”
McGregor has had a whirlwind couple of years. After winning the UFC lightweight title, the double champion crossed over to boxing for a superfight with Floyd Mayweather, started his own clothing line and brand of whiskey, and was arrested for attacking a bus Nurmagomedov was on. McGregor had not fought MMA in two years when he stepped in against the best lightweight in the world, a tall task for anyone. Of course, McGregor couldn’t just leave it at that. Instead, he questioned the cowardly nature of Nurmagomedov’s approach to their fight and his insistence on wrestling.
McGregor continues: “He almost dropped me, but then shot for the legs. Stand there and fight” pic.twitter.com/aLVqx3trsv— Mike Pendleton (@MP2310) March 19, 2019
“Imagine almost dropping someone - because he almost got me, but he didn’t drop me - I got back to my feet, threw shots, threw a knee, and then he shot [for a takedown],” McGregor exclaimed. “Imagine almost dropping someone with a picture-perfect shot, a picture-perfect punch, and then shooting for the legs. You almost got the fight done and you shoot for the legs?! Stand up and fight.”
The strategy worked out well for Nurmagomedov, who violently ground-and-pounded McGregor for most of the rest of the round en route to a 10-8 score. McGregor did recover in the third round, putting combinations together and looking like he may turn the tide, but in the fourth, Nurmagomedov finally got a truly dominant position and finished the bout. But despite this, McGregor maintains that the two need to have a rematch, if for no other reason than the post-fight brawl wherein he and members of Nurmagomedov’s entourage threw punches at each other in the cage while Khabib jumped the fence to attack Dillon Danis. All of that, demands retribution.
McGregor: “There was dispute in this last fight. I slapped his brother and cousin around on top of the cage. He tried to jump out and run. This is not over. So there’s dispute, there’s got to be a rematch. pic.twitter.com/PLDcxavMWV— Mike Pendleton (@MP2310) March 19, 2019
“When you beat a man convincingly, it’s not really necessary to go back for a rematch but when there’s dispute, there must be a rematch,” McGregor said. “There was dispute in my last one. I slapped his brother and his cousin on top of the cage, he tried to jump out and run. This is not over, so there’s dispute, there has to be a rematch.”
McGregor isn’t the only one who wants a rematch though. A rematch between Conor and Khabib is the biggest fight the UFC can put together at this point and UFC President Dana White is hoping the two fighters will square off again this year. Unfortunately, Nurmagomedov is refusing to fight until November in protest against the suspensions and fines handed out by the Nevada Athletic Commission over the UFC 229 brawl. In the meantime though, Conor can always finish up the trilogy he says he owes Nate Diaz.
“Diaz gave me my rematch and I’ve got respect for that,” McGregor said (video from TMZ Sports). “We fought, he beat me, he gave me a rematch at the exact same weight, there was no hesitation. That’s a true fighter right there so I’ve got nothing but respect. I owe him the trilogy now and the trilogy will happen.”
McGregor is suspended until April for his role in the UFC 229 brawl. He had previously been linked to a bout with Donald Cerrone, but with Cerrone now set to face Al Iaquinta, McGregor is targeting a July return against a yet to be determined opponent.
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Good for Tony.
Psychologist appt went well, Thanks Doc Champ Shit Only pic.twitter.com/BveeHnNGxI— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) March 20, 2019
Please re watch the fight killer and tell me what you see. Thanks, you should come train at @HBUTC I’ll pay for you for a month to help educate you on mma please take some classes and watch training. So you understand what goes on in a fight that way you get more educated.— Juan Archuleta (@jarchmma) March 13, 2019
Dudu you won’t do shit about it! Juan will pick you up and slam you on your head! I train with him everyday and he is different fighter just sit and watch him and learn my friend! PoRrrraaaaadaaaaa— Georgi Karakhanyan (@georgimma) March 19, 2019
You should worry about your fight but already you’re here come on..— Dudu Dantas (@DuduDantasMMA) March 19, 2019
Tell me NAMES and TITLES that Y have won in your career that prove that because you train with Juan that he is different? Another thing before sending any joke to me, think! You're talking to a thinking fighter.
Tachi Palace vs Isaac De Jesus who would knock you out! Than I defended against Micah Miller. WSOF vs Lance Palmer who would slam you on your head just like Juan so you shut the fuck up little wanna be cristiano Ronaldo of mma! Who you beat last! Nobody! Shut the fuck up!— Georgi Karakhanyan (@georgimma) March 19, 2019
hahahahha We're talking about hight level. I'm going to make you think one more time, we're talking about the best MMA event in the world @BellatorMMA .— Dudu Dantas (@DuduDantasMMA) March 19, 2019
How many times have you been a champion?
Man research before, study before you speak, it costs nothing. It's free. https://t.co/2mMMnx1Ydt
You thinking fighter huh? Were you thinking a lot when Macdonald knock you out?!— Georgi Karakhanyan (@georgimma) March 19, 2019
Hahaha I'm the only fighter on the planet who retired another fighter being knocked out. But this is past I've already won again and you? Be careful that @ElMatador145 will rip your head off as the @PatricioPitbull did.— Dudu Dantas (@DuduDantasMMA) March 19, 2019
Hahahahaha he’s been thinking weather or not to take up @rickybandejas on his call out lmao— Juan Archuleta (@jarchmma) March 19, 2019
You have a bad lawyer. But the fact is that you have no argument. Made a fight that the fans said you missed. We're going to run into each other before— Dudu Dantas (@DuduDantasMMA) March 19, 2019
Can’t wait— Juan Archuleta (@jarchmma) March 19, 2019
The UFC really pushing Askren.
@DomReyes I got a notification saying you responded back 45min ago and said you wanted it in July in Vegas.. Now I sign on to respond and it says tweet unavailable?! Don't tell me you already switched up THAT quick... @AliAbdelaziz00 get the contract ready. #ufc #letsgo— Corey Anderson UFC (@CoreyA_MMA) March 19, 2019
Savage ankle pick from Ngannou.
Monday mailbag! What are some BIG challenges you had to over come?— Roy Nelson (@roynelsonmma) March 19, 2019
Thank you @francisngannou #bellyrubapproved @monsterenergy @ricosproducts @UFC@bellatormma #bellator #ufc#mmatraining #mma#challenges #mmafighting pic.twitter.com/R3LDqqeNRi
Cyborg trying to pick a fight with Ronda still.
That is one bricked up dude.
Ivan Shtyrkov signs with the UFC. Undefeated Russian will compete in the light heavyweight division pic.twitter.com/kDiw8U4Qrj— Denis Geyko (@DenisGeykoRT) March 19, 2019
Donald Cerrone (35-11, 1 NC) vs. Al Iaquinta (14-4-1); UFC Ottawa, May 4.
Raymond Daniels (0-1) vs. Jon Durrant (0-0); Bellator Birmingham, May 4.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2016: Frank Mir fought for the final time in the UFC, getting knocked out by Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 85. Mir ended up failing an in-competition drug test and was suspended for two years. Mir maintains that he never knowingly ingested any banned substances.
Conor, I hate to break it to you my guy, but it doesn’t get much more convincing than your fight with Khabib. Fortunately, the UFC is pretty clearly setting you up against the winner of Poirier-Holloway so you might get your shot after all.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
Do Conor and Khabib need to rematch?
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Yes, at some point in the future.