Khabib Nurmagomedov reveals dark thoughts ahead of Conor McGregor fight: ‘I don’t think I would kill him’

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor

Though they only shared the Octagon once, the rivalry between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor is among the most volatile in UFC history.

Six months after capturing the lightweight title against Al Iaquinta at UFC 223, ‘The Eagle’ stepped inside the cage with Conor McGregor in what would become the highest-grossing pay-per-view in promotional history — a record that still stands today.

Nurmagomedov largely dominated the bout with his signature Dagestani wrestling and eventually submitted the Irishman in the fourth round via rear-naked choke.

Looking back on their fierce feud and his victory over ‘Mystic Mac’ at UFC 229, Khabib Nurmagomedov revealed that under different circumstances, he likely wouldn’t have relinquished the choke until McGregor had fully passed out. …Or worse.

“Would I have let go? No, I wouldn’t have,” he said in an interview with Red Corner MMA. “It’s that moment when your emotional state reaches its peak, touching the ceiling. He and I knew what we were going for. It’s not like when you meet someone on the street and start choking him. He is one of the best fighters in the world.

We were appointed to fight in half a year; we go out and find out who is the best. Would I kill him? I don’t think I would kill him but to the point of passing out, yes. Would I have controlled myself? We’ll never know. How long I would have choked him is a good question. I don’t know.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov walked away from MMA two fights later

Khabib Nurmagomdeov would go on to defend his lightweight title two more times against Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje before laying down his gloves and his gold in October 2020, officially retiring from the sport with a 29-0 record.

Conor McGregor has only won once since his loss to Nurmagomedov, which was a 40-second TKO victory against a past-his-prime Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC 246.