Despite the controversy surrounding the UFC 229, ‘the biggest fight in MMA history’ remained to be a massive success for the promotion and one of its main stars, Khabib Nurmagomedov, knows where to give the credit.
In a video published by MMA Leaks on YouTube, the Russian champion looked back on his journey on the way to the UFC 229 headliner and recognised his bitter rival, Conor McGregor, for helping the fight gained worldwide interest.
— Fight Hub (@FightHubNET) October 31, 2018
In case you are living under the rocks, Nurmagomedov gave McGregor a bitter welcome on his highly-awaited return in the Octagon earlier this month. The Dagestan phenom retained his lightweight title and stretched his winning streak to 27 fights after a nasty fourth-round submission of the Irish star in the main event of UFC 229.
The Khabib-Conor showdown was so big it earned a shot at history after it became the second largest gate in UFC history and the highest pay-per-view record ever with 2.4 million buys. It was arguably the biggest victory in Nurmagomedov’s career, proving that his undefeated record was no fluke and that he can overcome a massive challenge like McGregor, who is known as the best striker in the promotion.
‘The Eagle’ reportedly earned $3 million from the fight, which was eventually withheld by the Nevada Athletic Commission for his role in the ugly brawl sparked inside the T-mobile Arena. But Khabib can expect a bigger payday in his next fight following his successful title defence at UFC 229.
Giving The Credit Where It Is Due
Khabib has turned himself into an MMA icon after his recent win. His home soil, Russia, has given him the hero’s welcome he deserved. Weeks after, he flew to the Middle East for a tour and met some big names in the United Arab Emirates. The undefeated fighter also graced the grand opening ceremony of Istanbul Airport with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
All these tours and high-profile meetings would not be possible had he lost his fight against McGregor. In the video below, he recalled the ups and downs of this fight. Asked about what qualities he should not fear on his opponent, Khabib gave a sincere response:
“You know, fear and worry are almost on the same level and they are on the brink and very close to each other. Worry is very good but when you start to fear, then it’s over. You can’s control your emotions. But when you worry, many things work better.”
He then discussed the immense popularity of the UFC 229 main event and gave credit to the Dubliner’s star power.
“You know, you should give credit to Conor. He is very popular. Was I as popular as before the fight? I don’t think so. But if you compare us, athletes, I proved that I am better but as a star, he is much brighter than me.”
(Featured Image Source: MMA Leaks/YouTube and ESPN/YouTube)