This past weekend, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC made its U.S. debut, with Eagle FC 44 in Miami, Fla. But before he became a burgeoning promoter, Nurmagomedov was one of the biggest stars in MMA, and the fight that pushed him to superstar status is remembered for one of the most controversial moments in UFC history.
At UFC 229, Nurmagomedov defended his lightweight title against former champion Conor McGregor. It was one of the most heated buildups for a fight in history, with the two exchanging fiery rhetoric and, at one point, McGregor attacking a bus on which Khabib was riding. But for all the drama leading up to the bout, the fight itself was far less intense, with Nurmagomedov dominating McGregor en route to a fourth-round submission victory. But then all hell broke loose.
After submitting him, Nurmagomedov jumped over the fence and attacked McGregor’s corner, initiating a brawl that took several minutes to get under control. It was the sort of scene that drew near universal criticism, and though Nurmagomedov apologized immediately afterwards, later on he showed much less contrition, saying “you can’t confine an eagle to a cage.” However, now older, wiser, and three years removed from the incident, Nurmagomedov admits that it wasn’t his finest moment.
“I’m not going to say I am proud of something like this,” Numragomedov told the Full Send Podcast. “Maybe at the age right now, 33 and a half, maybe I’m not going to jump right now, But, for that time (I did).”
Of course it takes two to make an accident, and in the aftermath many pointed to McGregor’s personal attacks against Nurmagomedov in their pre-fight build up. But discussing the brawl further, Nurmagomedov said it wasn’t just that McGregor talked so much beforehand, it’s that he couldn’t back it up on fight night.
“First of all, I was preparing for war,” Nurmagomedov said. “I come inside the cage, I fight with this guy, and he tapped. I’m like, why I come here, why I train so hard for this? You’re going to tap easy like this? I just take his chin and he tapped. This one makes me upset too, because I expect more than what I find inside the cage, I expect more. Honestly, I don’t remember everything, I’m going to be honest. I remember someone from his corner saying something and it was like, crazy emotional moment for me. I’m like okay this party not finished.”
Little did Khabib know how right he would be. In the years that have followed the brawl, he and McGregor have continued to feud in public. Things got so bad that at one point the UFC felt compelled to intervene. And though they will likely never fight each other again with Nurmagomedov retired from the sport, the two are certain to be linked together forever by the rivalry they shared inside and outside the cage.
Khabib. Khabib Nurmagomedov laughs off Jake Paul’s offer for a fight: ‘Come on … [he would last] a couple minutes’.
Reaction. Jack Hermansson reacts to Sean Strickland declaring that he wants to kill someone in the octagon.
Smooth. Benson Henderson feels he ‘underperformed’ his Bellator contract, hopes to re-sign and win lightweight title.
Frozen. Jeremy Stephens says he felt ‘iced out’ by the UFC: ‘I’ve done everything for that company’.
Rankings. Some small changes to the MMA Fighting Global P4P Rankings this month.
Between the Links.
Top 10 light heavyweight submissions in UFC history.
PFL Challenger Series.
Francis Ngannou on Jackass.
We Got Next. Interviews with Joe Lauzon, Cheick Kongo, Tresean Gore, and Sullivan Cauley.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
What I do outside the ring is more important than what I do inside the ring… hands down. https://t.co/y8PYIr3qAL— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) February 3, 2022
Aljamain Sterling getting into it with The Coach.
Nothing worse than shady ppl.— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) February 3, 2022
Stop giving them ammunition. Focus on your fight. Show us all you can beat him and you will get all the respect in the world. The issue people have is all of the talking on social media coming off surgery and losing on the score cards in the last fight. Just a thought. Positivity https://t.co/KkyuzcDSnW— Jonathan Coachman (@TheCoachrules) February 3, 2022
Thanks but that tweet had nothing to do with Yan. Like not even the slightest bit. And I’ve been giving out ammunition since an Ammy. And I will never change because others can’t or don’t know how to deal with pressure. It pushed me to make diamonds with it. Perspective.— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) February 3, 2022
My man I am a fan. Didn’t say the tweet was about Yan. If you don’t want to change that’s on you. As a competitor in the fight game it’s all about what you do lately. And we all want to see that in the octagon and not on social media. Good luck. https://t.co/hWdwiwEHjC— Jonathan Coachman (@TheCoachrules) February 3, 2022
You quoted a tweet when you could’ve just @ me instead?— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) February 3, 2022
It’s not smart to jump into a cage fight when you physically can’t last 3 RDs. I was rushed into the Oct date. I was not healthy.
I’ve been ready since Jan.
I will never change to make ppl happy or to like me.
April 9th https://t.co/O7YG2sjPgo
You was in the cage with me 30 pounds heavier and for real I know a bitch her name Felicia she hits harder than you @danawhite— Marvin Vettori (@MarvinVettori) February 3, 2022
Nick Diaz and BJ Penn.
Wit the OGs @bjpenndotcom— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) February 3, 2022
And PMT pic.twitter.com/0q1OL5q6S8
Bevon Lewis (7-3) vs. Marcelo Nunes (7-1); PFL Challenger Series, Mar. 25.
Giacomo Lemos (7-0) vs. Brett Martin (10-1, 1 NC); PFL Challenger Series, Mar. 25.
Adam Keresh (4-0) vs. Chad Johnson (6-3); PFL Challenger Series, Mar. 25.
Daiqwon Buckley (1-0) vs. Jon Cunningham (1-0); PFL Challenger Series, Mar. 25.
Melsik Baghdasaryan (7-1) vs. T.J. Laramie (12-4); UFC Fight Night, Apr. 16.
Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights, and see y’all next week.
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