Conor McGregor Admits to Not Giving Khabib Nurmagomedov “His Respect”
Leading up to UFC 229, Conor McGregor repeatedly blasted Khabib Nurmagomedov and certainly didn't go out of his way to credit the undefeated fighter's skills. But, more recently, the former champ seemed to acknowledge he underestimated the lightweight champ.
Leading up to UFC 229, Conor McGregor repeatedly blasted Khabib Nurmagomedov and certainly didn’t heap praise on the undefeated fighter’s skills. But, more recently, the former champ seemed to acknowledge he underestimated the lightweight champ.
McGregor returned to the Octagon last October to face Nurmagomedov, and as many predicted would likely be the case, the latter’s wrestling and top game ruled the day. Not only that, but at one point Khabib dropped McGregor with a booming right during a striking exchange.
“He’s a formidable opponent, wrestled bears since he was a kid, has put a lot of time in his standup work,” McGregor said. “He was a lot sharper than I anticipated it was going to be. I’ve got to respect that. It was his big moment.”
“It’s easy to do this once. It’s very easy for someone to be given something and to do it just one time. You put your absolute all into it. But to do it time after time and year after year, that’s when the motivation kind of dips, that’s when the dedication kind of lacks, and that’s when people creep up. That’s what I feel has happened here. I didn’t give him his respect, I marched forward, I didn’t give a sh*t, I got caught with that overhand. If I was switched on, I would not get caught with that overhand in any form of combat. I’m very confident, very eager, very in shape, let’s keep it going.”
Now, McGregor did go onto criticize Nurmagomedov for shooting in on his legs, after scoring the flash knockdown. Further, Khabib fans might argue that McGregor’s comments about his “dedication” sound like an excuse. But, the fact McGregor has noted that the champ is a “formidable opponent” and that he was “sharper” than he planned, is somewhat commendable no? It’s certainly a far departure from some of the things McGregor was saying prior to UFC 229….
McGregor also referred to the ugly, post-fight brawl at UFC 229 as a “dispute”, and that’s why, according to him, a rematch has to happen. But, to date, Nurmagomedov, and many others, have argued McGregor doesn’t deserve a rematch just yet. Dustin Poirier is facing Max Holloway for an interim belt on April 13th, and the winner of that fight will almost certainly, challenge Khabib next.