NEW YORK — Conor McGregor’s return to the UFC stage was a typical “Notorious” no holds barred performance…. And, this time he brought the bar. McGregor (21-3 MMA) recently launched his whiskey label “Proper No. 12”. The Irishman made his whiskey known to everyone inside the Radio City Music Hall, none more so than his opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov. McGregor even offered Nurmagomedov a birthday toast which the Russian Champion declined. Nurmagomedov, now 30-years-old, has a perfect 26-0 record and is currently the UFC 155-pound champion, a title McGregor left vacant while on a two-year absence from the cage.
McGregor and Nurmagomedov have an extensive history in New York, and it seems to have all accumulated up to this presser, Thursday in Manhattan. McGregor claimed his second world title, his UFC lightweight gold at UFC 205 inside a sold-out Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2016. An event that saw him get into a backstage altercation with Nurmagomedov in which security had to separate the men.
Nurmagomedov, like McGregor, claimed his own UFC lightweight title in New York. The Russian dominated all five rounds against Al Iaquinta (13-4-1 MMA) at UFC 223, in Brooklyn on route to a unanimous decision victory. There also happened to be a couple backstage extracurricular activities at this event surrounding the championship fighters. Nurmagomedov and a host of teammates were seen on video both physically and verbally assaulting McGregor’s friend and teammate Artem Lobov (14-14-1 MMA) at the fighter’s hotel. The second altercation involved a bus, a trolly, a touch of profanity and a few lawsuits.
This means that going into the fight there certainly a rivalry that could make this fight one of the best this year. If you’re going to be looking to wager on this MMA fight then it’s worth taking a look at TeamFA to see what predictions they’ve made ahead of this clash.
McGregor, is regarded as the best trash talker in modern day sports and possibly all-time. He manipulates opponent’s game plans to make them overextend both inside and outside of the cage, mentally and physically. The UFC 229 press conference was yet another spectacle of McGregor’s tenacious tongue. The verbal battle was quite morbid, even for McGregor’s standards. That came to no surprise to UFC President, Dana White.
“It was dark man. It was the darkest press conference I’ve ever been a part of. You know, Conor McGregor is the master of mental warfare. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.”
Early in the presser Nurmagomedov stayed calm, and collected. A few of McGregor’s over-exaggerated rants even brought a smile Nurmagomedov’s face. At one point he even asked McGregor to sit down politely when the former champ went on multiple profane laced rants. When asked how he felt about Conor and the trash talk, he expressed his opinion.
“I stay relaxed, I do not feel nothing. I know I have location. Sixth of October, sixth of October.”
McGregor fired verbal jab after jab. He prodded at any weakness he sensed in the Russian’s mental armor. Despite Nurmagomedov’s mental fortitude, McGregor finally broke through and pinched a nerve on three separate subjects: Nurmagomedov’s run-in with Lobov, Russian politics, and family history.
“Are you disrespecting your president Vladimir Putin?”
McGregor asked his counterpart then broke into laughter and continued his rant.
“Fake rat! Fake respect out of fear. That’s all these men are known for. They were chased from their land. Chased from their land to the edge of cliffs. My family, my bloodline, the McGregor Clan blood line stood and fought.”
Khabib, unquestionably frustrated tried to respond but was overpowered by the Irishman’s ferocious presence.
McGregor, while ballistic and borderline out of control, made the more significant impact in the press conference. He finally proved he could get under Nurmagomedov’s skin, and trigger an emotional response from both Nurmagomedov and his team.
On October sixth, the octagon door will lock behind these men at T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas. The world is waiting.
For all things, UFC 229, stay tuned.