McGregor vs Nurmagedov: Soar like the Eagle, or Sting Like Notorious?
UFC229 marks McGregor’s return to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas following his catastrophic Mayweather defeat. Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of his challengers for the UFC title, with an unblemished record of 26 wins to McGregor’s 21 wins and 3 losses.
— UFC (@ufc) August 3, 2018
Looking forward to the fight? Then pop on your battle gear as we arm you with all the knowledge and insight you could possibly need!
From Fan to Opponent
Though this is their first official fight, the two athletes already have a long-standing history together. With them being all too happy to be pictured together in 2016 at the height of McGregor’s career, where an injury sidelined Nurmagomedov from UFC178.
“With Conor McGregor after his unbelievable victory at UFC 178. A dangerous guy.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov was once a fan of Conor McGregor… now he’s the guy fighting him. #mcgregorkhabib #UFC229 pic.twitter.com/0lW2vDE0UF
— Spreadex Sports (@SpreadexSport) October 4, 2018
Nurmagomedov’s relationship with McGregor took a nasty turn at the UFC229 press conference. In response to Nurmagomedov calling him a ‘glass-jawed rat’, McGregor labelled Nurmagomedov a ‘fanboy’ and brought up Nurmagomedov’s public support for McGregor’s knock-out fight with Dustin Poirier.
Nurmagomedov was unphased, and responded ‘this is what I expect’ when asked for comment about McGregor’s ‘fanboy’ remarks.
Tempers continued to rise throughout as McGregor and Nurmagomedov attacked each other’s history, fighting style, and even reputations, both eager to get the last word in at the UFC press conference.
The most notable remark coming with McGregor attacking Nurmagomedov’s link to jailed oligarch Ziyavudin Magomedov, founder of Eagles MMA, where Nurmagedov is currently president. Magomedov paid for Nurmagedov’s back operation in 2017, in addition to funding the larger part of Numagedov’s training expenses prior to his arrest. Furthermore, Nurmagedov has also publicly declared his support for Magomedov by signing his name to a list vouching for the oligarch. The list includes 22 Olympic champions, in addition to top-line hockey players such as Vladimir Myshkin and and Sergei Makarov.
Nurmagomedov remained stoic throughout the press conference, only rising to McGregor’s bait when he alleged that Nurmagomedov fought for money instead of his ideals, a major slight to what Nurmagomedov has continuously claimed.
McGregor also continued to attack the character of his opponent as he offered Nurmagomedov, a devout Muslim, a glass of his new Proper No. 12 whiskey, which was declined.
The cold, hard facts
We all like a story, and characters are certainly fun to watch, helping to make the sport so exciting.
However, we know our reader what the ultimate insight, and that dear readers, comes with numbers. It’s time to remove emotion and look at the details that a quick mouth won’t talk you out of.
- Record – MMA – 26 wins / 0 losses, UFC – 10 wins – 0 losses
- His 26-fight MMA winning streak is the longest among active UFC fighters.
- Set a single-fight UFC record with 21 takedowns against Abel Trujillo (UFC 16).
- He has a takedown rate of 5.44 per every 15 minutes of fighting,
- He defends 70.1 percent of all opponent significant strike attempts in UFC lightweight competition,
- He has a 70% defence streak against all opponent strike attempts,
- He absorbs 1.60 significant strikes per minute.
- Record – MMA – 21 wins / 3 losses, UFC – 9 wins – 1 loss
- became the first two-division champion in UFC history with simultaneous titles in two weight classes,
- has won 18 matches by knockout,
- is one of four fighters in UFC history to earn three knockdowns in a single fight on two separate occasions.
- He set a record for the fastest title-fight stoppage in UFC history with a 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo at UFC 194.
- McGregor returns to MMA competition for the first time since Nov. 12, 2016.
- McGregor’s 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo at UFC 194 marked the fastest title-fight stoppage in UFC history.
On paper, current title holder Nurmagomedov and challenger McGregor are more or less evenly matched. Nurmagomedov has the second longest winning streak with nine consecutive wins, while McGregor holds the title for the only UFC champion to have more than eight consecutive fight-night bonuses.
That said, odds are stacked against McGregor: Nurmagedov has a 4/7 chance of winning against McGregor’s 11/8, however industry professionals are undecided at who will ultimately take home the 1.5kg solid-gold belt.
Nurmagedov’s devastating track record as the undefeated Eagle demolishes The Notorious’ six losses, and chances are that McGregor’s victory will only be clinched with a one-punch takedown, which McGregor is unlikely to get before Nurmagedov gets a hold of him.
McGregor’s two-year departure from the scene is also something to consider, however McGregor’s preparation for this event could put him a cut above the Eagle, and give him a chance at winning back his throne.
The final clincher could be that McGregor thrives in precision and speed, and he is an experienced MMA fighter who has already triumphed in fights of this calibre, whereas Nurmagedov is in largely uncharted territory.
On the day
McGregor vs Nurmagedov is anticipated to make UFC history but don’t fool yourself into thinking that is the only piece of excitement lined up for Saturday.
There are nine other fights to keep your UFC lust satiated:
Lightweight: Gray Maynard vs Nik Lentz
Women’s Bantamweight: Lina Lansberg vs Yana Kunitskaya
Welterweight: Ryan LaFlare vs Tony Martin
Lightweight: Scott Holtzman vs Alan Patrick
Flyweight: Sergio Pettis vs Jussier Formiga
Bantamweight: Sean O’Malley vs Jose Alberto Quinonez
Women’s Strawweight: Michelle Waterson vs Felice Herrig
Heavyweight: Derrick Lewis vs Alexander Volkov
Light Heavyweight: Ovince Saint Preux vs Dominick Reyes
Lightweight: Tony Ferguson vs Anthony Pettis
So, are you pumped up and ready for a fight that will go down in history?