This won’t be the end of McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov
So unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the McGregor vs. Khabib fight. The bad blood between the two fighters has been building for a long time now, including the infamous bus incident in New York and now coming to a boiling point with their fight at UFC 229 last night.
As for the fight itself, it went about exactly as expected but not the way that most people had hoped. McGregor has a polarizing personality; either you love him or you hate him. However, more people love him, myself included. As much as I wanted him to win, I knew it would be the biggest challenge McGregor has faced so far in his career so I didn’t really have my hopes up.
If they both stayed on their feet, it favoured McGregor. If it went to the ground, Khabib had the advantage, and unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) that’s exactly what happened. Khabib took the fight to the ground early in Round 1 and kept it there for the rest of the round. Neither fighter gave or took any significant damage which made for a boring start to the fight after all of the hype surrounding it, but after 5 minutes Khabib had the advantage.
Round 2 was much of the same. As much as McGregor tried to keep this fight standing up, Khabib was relentless with his takedown attempts and was finding success with them more often than not. While much of the talk had been about the power of McGregor’s left hand, it was an overhand right from Khabib that stumbled Conor. Once on the ground, the Russian unleashed a vicious ground and pound attack on McGregor and for a second it seemed as though the fight was going to end right here, but referee Herb Dean let the fight go on.
After getting off to a slow start, McGregor bounced back and showed some signs of life in around 3. He began connecting on his strikes, but nothing seemed to shake Khabib. If McGregor was going to have a chance in this fight, it was looking more and more like he’d need to find a way to finish it.
The fight was finished in Round 4, but it was Khabib who came out with the win. After getting McGregor on the mat, Khabib got his back and forced Conor to tap out with a rear naked choke/neck crank. Khabib improved to 27-0, but none of this was the focus after the fight. After the win Khabib turned his attention to McGregor’s corner, eventually leading to a fight in the crowd. Meanwhile, some of his coaches had climbed into the ring and began trying to fight McGregor. It looked like something straight out of the WWE, and if I didn’t know any better I’d say this was planned. But after months of trash talk, it’s clear that these two fighters and their teams really do hate each other.
McGregor has already posted on Twitter saying he wants a rematch and based on the attention that this fight got, it seems like we will see it at some point in the future. Even if Dana White isn’t happy with what happened after the fight, he’ll eventually realize the money that he could make on a rematch. The only issue is we might be stuck waiting a while to see it.
Even if there is a rematch, Conor will have some work to do if he wants to avoid the same outcome. But if Khabib is suspended for a while, the lightweight division will be wide open for anyone, maybe even McGregor, to take.