UFC 229 was certainly one of the most hype and anticipated events ever for Dana White’s promotion. The main event of the evening, the match between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, had in fact created expectations well beyond the UFC lightweight belt at stake: the rivalry between the two fighters was pure hatred. The months preceding the match were peppered with heavy trash talk (especially from the Irishman) and episodes of pure “gangsterism”. We all know how that played out in the Octagon.
More than two years after the events, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0-0) has certainly not buried the hatchet with Conor McGregor (22-4-0). In a press conference held recently in Moscow, the Dagestani champion came back to talk about the match against McGregor saying that he was disappointed with his opponent’s mental performance.
As almost everybody remembers, Khabib spoke several times with McGregor during the fight, especially during the ground phases. His “Let’s talk now”, addressed to McGregor while he was storming him with ground and pound punches, has remained famous. Equally famous, although much less aggressive, the Irishman’s answer at the end of the second round: “it’s only business”. It was precisely this sentence that took Khabib off guard. At that point, Nurmagomedov knew that McGregor was mentally out of the fight. Khabib commented that he would have expected more tenacity from McGregor.
Khabib continued saying that McGregor tried to trash talk in the early stages of the match, but as soon as he understood that he was fighting against a fury, he went into “just business” mode. Khabib said again that he felt “a bit disappointed” since he was expecting to fight with a “stronger in the head” fighter. Finally, Khabib, answering the questions of the journalists, completed the press conference recalling those UFC epic moments of the fight. The Dagestani fighter mentioned that when McGregor mentally gave up saying that it was “just business” Khabib saw him like a child trying to justify himself against his angry father to avoid a further beating.
Khabib Nurmagomedov officially retired after his UFC 254 bout against Justin Gaethje, while Conor McGregor will return to the Octagon in January against Dustin Poirier (26-6-1 NC).