UFC 229 Reflection, Reaction and What’s Next?

UFC 229, what's next?

UFC 229 ended with a thunderous stomp. Khabib Nurmagomedov, now 27-0 and undisputed UFC lightweight champion, finished Conor McGregor via rear-naked choke in the fourth round of UFC 229’s main event, Saturday night.

Khabib controlled all aspects of the fight, except his emotions. He dominated on the ground, and to the surprise of many, he was able to drop McGregor on the feet with a beautiful overhand right in the second. It was a dominant performance from start to finish. After the submission, Nurmagomedov proceeded to spit on his downed opponent. He then turned to McGregor’s corner and threw his mouth guard, then himself over the cage in their direction. He proceeded to fly into the crowd and try to stomp on McGregor’s teammate, and MMA prospect on the rise, Dillion Dannis. Dannis was able to dodge the kick and landed a right hand that hurt the champion.

Meanwhile, McGregor, still in the octagon, landed a punch on one of Khabib’s coaches, and his cousin Abubakar Nurmagomedov. One of Khabib’s cornerman then jumped him from behind. It was the ugliest public display in UFC history.

Khabib’s two million dollar purse is being withheld by the Nevada Athletic Commission. McGregor received 100% of his three million dollar purse. Both men are currently under investigation for their roles in the post-fight altercation. UFC President chimed in on Khabib’s punishment Tuesday in an interview with TMZ.

“He absolutely keeps his title.” White continued “And he’s going to get suspended, so maybe you give him a four-to-six month suspension.”

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The card as a whole was marvelous. Tony Ferguson and Anthony Pettis put on bloody show laced with athletic striking and passion. Derrick Lewis possibly had the best come from behind knockout of the year and a post-fight interview for the ages. Unfortunately, it’s all overshadowed by Nurmagomedov’s post-fight antics and McGregor’s retaliation.

McGregor hadn’t fought in the UFC cage since November 2016, and it showed. From March-November of 2016, he made the octagon walk three times. Since then he’s fought just once, and it was a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr. He seemed out of step and could not find his usual deadly range. McGregor has already touted a rematch.

“Conor McGregor has already called me wanting an immediate rematch,” Dana White told ESPN’s first take Monday.

If McGregor gets his rematch, he will inevitably have to find his timing, range, and power again or the rematch will likely go as the first bout, an all-out dominant performance by the Dagestani.

One substantial positive came for UFC 229 when White announced Tuesday that the aforementioned Derrick Lewis would headline UFC 230 on November third against heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. The bout will serve as the main event in Madison Square Garden and will be Cormier’s first heavyweight title defense. DC claimed the belt from Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 back on July Seventh.

Furthermore, the lightweight co-main event at UFC 230 has been called off. Dustin Poirier had to pull out of his fight with Nate Diaz due to an unconfirmed injury.

On Wednesdays, the UFC announced that superstar Jon Jones is set to return. He will face Alexander Gustafsson on December 29, at UFC 232. The fight will be for the light heavyweight title and will mark the second title bout between the fighters.

No matter what comes between McGregor and Khabib, the UFC has plenty of options and depth available in the lightweight division moving forward. Not to mention they’ve found the main event for their next pay-per-view card, thanks to an incredible performance by Derrick Lewis at UFC 229.

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