The “superfight” Between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov was arguably the biggest fight in the history of the UFC. The build up of the fight had all the elements of a truly historic rivalry in combat sports. McGregor, the cocky/confident Irish superstar, returning from ‘exile’ to reclaim his throne versus an opponent the likes of which the world has never seen. Nurmagomedov, The Combat Sambo champion from Russia , undefeated in the cage for ten years and eager to hand McGregor some retribution for disrespectful remarks about his country, religion, and family. While the fight had all the fixings to be an all-out bloodywar, it was more like a one-sided domination.
Nurmagomedov absolutely dominated McGregor, demonstrating a much more polished striking game than we’ve seen and taking “Notorious” down with relative ease and dominating the grappling. Nurmagomedov sent McGregor to the canvas with a right hand in the second round, and eventually tapped the former two-division champion with a neck crank in the fourth. In an interview with MikePendleton, McGregor claimed to know exactly what cost him the fight and how to fix it:
He’s a formidable opponent, wrestled bears since he was a kid, has put a lot of time in his standup work, He was a lot sharper than I anticipated it was going to be. I’ve got to respect that. It was his big moment. It’s easy to do this once. It’s very easy for someone to be given something and to do it just one time. You put your absolute all into it. But to do it time after time and year after year, that’s when the motivation kind of dips, that’s when the dedication kind of lacks, and that’s when people creep up. That’s what I feel has happened here. I didn’t give him his respect, I marched forward, I didn’t give a sh*t, I got caught with that overhand. If I was switched on, I would not get caught with that overhand in any form of combat. I’m very confident, very eager, very in shape, let’s keep it going.
Imagine almost dropping someone – because he almost got me, but he didn’t drop me – I got back to my feet, threw shots, threw a knee, and then he shot [for a takedown], Imagine almost dropping someone with a picture-perfect shot, a picture-perfect punch, and then shooting for the legs. You almost got the fight done and you shoot for the legs?! Stand up and fight.
When you beat a man convincingly, it’s not really necessary to go back for a rematch but when there’s dispute, there must be a rematch, There was dispute in my last one. I slapped his brother and his cousin on top of the cage, he tried to jump out and run. This is not over, so there’s dispute, there has to be a rematch. Diaz gave me my rematch and I’ve got respect for that, We fought, he beat me, he gave me a rematch at the exact same weight, there was no hesitation. That’s a true fighter right there so I’ve got nothing but respect. I owe him the trilogy now and the trilogy will happen.