UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has revealed he was disappointed when his bitter rival Conor McGregor seemingly backed down from his trash talk during their infamous fight at UFC 229 in 2018.
Nurmagomedov put a beating on McGregor for much of their main event match-up before picking up a fourth-round submission finish and starting a post-fight brawl. Before that, he was trash-talking the usually talkative Irishman who appeared to attempt to end the beef in the Octagon by saying “it’s only business”.
Nurmagomedov was disappointed to see McGregor back down so easily.
“Conor’s trash talk? Yes, he had talked for a while (during the fight), but when I started pushing him, he immediately switched to the ‘It’s just business’ mode,” Khabib said recently in a Moscow press conference. “I was even a bit disappointed. I expected him to be mentally tougher.
“When I was ground-and-pounding him, talking to him, and he responded that it was just business, it looked like he was trying to calm me down to avoid a real beating, just like a son trying to justify himself in front of his angry father. Psychology is a very strong tool.” (Transcribed by MMA News)
Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from MMA in the aftermath of his win over Gaethje at UFC 254 in October. The undefeated Russian has since doubled down on his retirement claim, but UFC boss Dana White is set to try to convince his 155lb star to return for at least one more match-up. He remains lightweight champion and hopefully, his fighting future along with the future of the lightweight division will be clear in the next few weeks.
McGregor will square off against Dustin Poirier in the UFC 257 main event on ‘Fight Island’. McGregor was disappointed to compete just once in 2020. The former featherweight and lightweight champion stepped up to 170lbs to take on MMA veteran Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and needed just 40 seconds to secure a TKO win. McGregor temporarily retired before returning for a fight with ‘The Diamond’ before he takes on boxing legend Manny Pacquiao in the summer months of 2021. On Saturday he appeared to reignite his feud with Nurmagomedov and his team as he angles for a mega-money rematch.
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