Months before the UFC 229 raises its curtain, MMA fans were already expecting that its headliner featuring Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor will be a barnburner affair for various reasons.
A match between the best striker and the best grappler in the UFC, McGregor’s return to the octagon after a two-year hiatus, and Khabib facing the greatest challenge in his MMA career and since the controversial backstage brawl last April were some of the biggest storylines that gave this fight much hype.
When the smoke cleared yesterday, ‘The Eagle’ had the last laugh after securing his 27th straight victory to retain his lightweight belt. The returning McGregor was forced to tap out in the fourth round after Nurmagomedov sunk in a rear naked choke.
The so-called biggest fight in UFC history has lived up to its billing (minus the post-fight melee) as both fighters delivered nail-biting exchanges in four thrilling rounds. But more than the intense action, the fight also featured a hair-raising dialogue, with a new clip showing Khabib talking to his challenger while he pummeled him in the second round.
In a pair of pre-fight press conferences, “The Notorious” has been trying to get into Khabib’s head. The former two-division champion kept on throwing a flurry of insults to the lightweight champion, his father, and his religion.
However, the 30-year old Nurmagomedov was aware that this was all part of his opponent’s mind games. Instead of clapping back, Khabib decided to ignore McGregor’s tirades and set his sights to the bigger picture that was the UFC 229 main event.
Ahead of the biggest fight of his career, the Dagestan native promised two things: one, that he will relax and focus on 6 October and two, that he will speak to McGregor during his title defense.
“I only understood about 50 per cent of what he was saying. My mind says, ‘It’s OK. He can say whatever he wants.’ When some guy comes to you and talks, you don’t care. You just leave it alone. My plan for that press conference, after I talked to my father, my brother, Ali, my coach Javier [Mendez], they all said, ‘You have to be relaxed. If you go back and forth with him, this is his game. Relax and focus on Six October.’” explained Khabib.
And so he did.
Khabib proved to be too much for McGregor as he dominated him the entire fight. He did not just let his talent do the talking, but he also did speak to McGregor mid-fight.
— Rafał w (@Crey91) October 7, 2018
Man on a Mission
Both Khabib and Conor have promised to take the trash talking in the actual UFC 229 fight.
“I am going to maul him and then let’s see who’s doing the talking, let’s see who’s having a conversation in there,” said Conor ahead of his highly-anticipated MMA return.
Khabib, meanwhile, has been known for these antics, with Michael Johnson and Al Iaquinta being the former recipients of his mid-fight trash talk in their previous meeting with ‘The Eagle.’
Last weekend, he gave McGregor a doze of his own medicine as he seriously spewed fire on the Irish star while beating him in the ground.
Khabib was, indeed, a man on a mission last night and he really meant business in this blockbuster fight!
Watch this electrifying scene from the UFC 229 main card in the video below:
'Let's talk now.' pic.twitter.com/1TEm8R6jPD
— SNM (@JackCook95) October 7, 2018
(Featured Image Source: Twitter/JackCook95 and Global News/Youtube)