Dana White denies rumor Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov were friends prior to UFC 229 title fight

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UFC CEO Dana White says Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov were never friends.

McGregor and Nurmagomedov fought at UFC 229 and it is the biggest UFC pay-per-view of all time. The lead-up to the fight was full of trash-talk as the two did not like one another. Yet, before the fight, a picture of the two backstage at an event went viral and some fans claimed they used to be friends.

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However, Dana White says the two were never friends and instead says there was a bit of mutual respect but once they knew they were on a collision course, everything changed.

“Their rise was at the same time, White told former New England Patriots star Julian Edelman on the Games With Names podcast (h/t talkSport). “The problem you are talking about when people say ‘they were boys’, they were never really boys it was like a mutual [respect], you are dealing with two hardcore f***ing alpha males. These guys are both killers. They both want to be the best. They both wanna win and they are both willing to fight anyone and do anything to be the best. So, when you get those two types of guys there’s no being buddies. Those two are on a collision course before they even knew they were.”

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Of course, part of the reason for the two starting to dislike one another was at UFC 223 fight week when Nurmagomedov slapped Artem Lobov who was a close friend and teammate of McGregor. The Irishman then threw the dolly at the bus which led to the fighting later that year.

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McGregor hasn’t fought since July of 2021 when he broke his leg in the trilogy match against Dustin Poirier. Before that, he suffered a knockout loss to Poirier which was an upset at the time.

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The Irishman is just 1-3 in his last four with his lone winning coming by a 40-second TKO over Donald Cerrone and losing by submission to Nurmagomedov.

What are your thoughts on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s spat with Conor McGregor?