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Morning Report: Khabib Nurmagomedov discusses infamous UFC 229 brawl: ‘I expect more than what I find inside the cage’

UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Digital First Media/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

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.

Paddy Pimblett.


We Got Next. Interviews with Joe Lauzon, Cheick Kongo, Tresean Gore, and Sullivan Cauley.


Jake Paul.

Aljamain Sterling getting into it with The Coach.

Marvin Vettori.

Nick Diaz and BJ Penn.



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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