Conor McGregor vs Khabib: What Notorious said whilst being submitted at UFC 229

Conor McGregor vs Khabib: What Notorious said whilst being submitted at UFC 229

With Conor McGregor eyeing a return to the Octagon later in the year, there has been a lot of speculation as to who the Irishman might square off against.

McGregor’s gained weight during his absence has caused many fighters from across the divisions to be named as potential opponents – huge names such as Dustin Poirier, Nate Diaz, Justin Gaethje, Kamaru Usman and, most recently, Charles Oliveira.

Having not fought since suffering a broken leg during his fight against Poirier in July last year, and having not won since facing Donald Cerrone in January 2020, there is no doubt that the prospect of making a return in a title fight would be mouth-watering for McGregor.

Unfortunately for McGregor, the UFC is favouring a match-up against Islam Makhachev for Oliveira instead.

However, the mere proposal of it is enough to rekindle old memories of McGregor’s most recent title fight – against Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.

The rivalry between the pair dates back a long way, with the two being stars of the lightweight division at the time, as well as polar opposites – the cocky, arrogant and trash-talk king McGregor, and the humble, devout Nurmagomedov.

But while the pair only met once in their careers, the fight was perhaps still one too many for McGregor.

During the fourth round of the highly anticipated bout, the Dagestani fighter submitted McGregor with a rear-naked choke to defend his title.

In an instant, McGregor was defeated and humbled by his opponent, and not to mention, humiliated.

Following their clash, he claimed McGregor pleaded with him to have mercy and make it stop. A request which the victor adhered to – only after the referee signalled a stoppage, of course.

Nurmagomedov told reporters: “I beat him up for four rounds. I beat him and choked him, and he tapped.

“It was a sign he didn’t want to be there, ‘let me go please’ and all that.”

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The fight has since been a hugely iconic part of UFC folklore. One that is much better remembered by fans of the Russia wrestler than those of McGregor.

With the memories of this fight surely still being desperately suppressed in the back of McGregor’s mind, perhaps it is a blessing that a title fight was not scheduled for him – despite the absolute certain viewers it would pull in.

Instead, the 12th ranked lightweight may have to fight his way back to the top, or risk letting history repeat itself and face the same humiliating fate.

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