Conor McGregor has produced an in-depth account of his heavy UFC 229 loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov, breaking it down round-by-round.
Despite the crazy scenes that unfolded on the night, there was a championship fight that took place as well, and McGregor lost – badly.
The Irish UFC star took to Instagram on Tuesday to share his insights into the fight – what went right, what went wrong, and ultimately, how we was made to tap-out in the final round.
McGregor starts by addressing the opening round of the fight, which he admits was won by Khabib through a “sport standpoint”.
“I believe from a sport standpoint, round 1 was his. Top position against the fence. Zero position advancement or damage inflicted. But top position.
From a fight standpoint the first round is mine,” McGregor wrote.
The 30-year-old then addresses what he calls the “worst round of (his) fighting career, the second round.
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McGregor readily admits fault in apparently never preparing for Nurmagomedov’s upright game, something he says he will learn from if he gets a rematch.
“Round 2 he is running away around the cage before being blessed with a right hand that changed the course of the round, and the fight. It was a nice shot,” McGregor continued.
“I gave his upright fighting no respect in preparation. No specific stand up spars whatsoever. Attacking grapplers/wrestlers only. That won’t happen again.”
Despite winning round three on the scorecard, and arguably being his best round, McGregor doesn’t have much to say here.
The Irishman stayed on his feet for that round and managed to do a little damage to Nurmagomedov, but obviously not nearly enough:
“Round 3. After the worst round of my fighting career, I come back and win this round. Again walking forward, walking him down, and willing to engage.”
Round four is where it all went wrong for McGregor, despite gaining some momentum early in the round.
McGregor started out this round again with some momentum, but an aggressive takedown attempt from Nurmagomedov put him against the fence then on the ground.
McGregor got back up on his feet, but never fully upright, and soon Nurmagomedov had him mounted and in a rear naked choke that ended the fight.
McGregor admits he made a “critical error” in exposing his back to Nurmagomedov, and says he was “beaten fair and square”.
Conor McGregor’s post-UFC 229 outlook
All in all, McGregor doesn’t seem too down by the end of the post. He might have a somewhat rosy recollection of what was a fairly convincing win for Nurmagomedov, but he claims to have learned from the mistakes he did make.
While McGregor treats a rematch as something that will definitely happen, he also offers that he’s willing to face another fighter if UFC opts to give Nurmagomedov a different opponent for his next title defence.
McGregor doesn’t even bother mentioning the post-fight brawl, an understandable decision given that he and Nurmagomedov are scheduled for a hearing in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission where indefinite suspensions are on the line.
The insult that turned McGregor and Khabib from friends to foes
Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov respected and even liked each other back in 2014, but a one word insult changed all that.
McGregor and Khaib were very friendly just four years ago and even posed for a photo together after UFC 178.
Khabib was an up-and-comer who hadn’t broken into UFC stardom yet, while McGregor had just reached superstardom by beating Dustin Pourier.
As you can see here, the hatred that now exists between the rivals was non-existent back then.
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) September 28, 2014
How friends turned to foes
But according to Artem Lobov, a friend and teammate of McGregor, things changed when Khabib started insulting the Irishman with one particular word.
Lobov, a Russian fighter who trains in Ireland with McGregor, has revealed to ESPN how McGregor was infuriated by Khabib continually calling him ‘chicken’.
“Things were good between all of us — Conor, Khabib and myself,” Lobov told ESPN.
“We saw Khabib often at shows, Reebok launches and what not. We were always very respectful to each other. I’d always shake his hand, ask how he is … it was all good.
“That all changed when, for someone reason I don’t know why, Khabib started calling Conor a chicken. Conor had never said anything bad towards Khabib. Khabib decided to start calling him chicken.
What’s so bad about ‘chicken’?
Lobov explained how the term ‘chicken’ is used as a very derogatory term in Russia, often to describe a man who has been sexually assaulted.
“It might not sound very serious to you guys, but just so you know, chicken is one of the most severe insults you can give a man in Russia. Khabib knows that and everybody knows that,” he said.
“Khabib keeps going on with this, chicken here, chicken there, at every interview he’s calling Conor chicken … again Conor is respectful, not saying anything, we don’t really know where this is all coming from. Khabib was very respectful beforehand.
“The more he says chicken, he sees the media picking it up, he sees all the attention, and I guess he enjoys that. He wants the PR and he keeps going with it.
“This goes on for about a year. And then in an interview, I get asked about this. A Russian journalist asks me, ‘what can you say about Khabib calling Conor a chicken?’
“Now of course, knowing the severity of this insult, I had to respond in a hard way. And I think anybody would have done the same. If I didn’t do that, then what kind of friend am I?
“My response was very harsh, but I spoke facts. I talked about Khabib pulling out from all the fights … How can he call him a chicken when he’s the one pulling out. Conor never pulled out. It was a harsh response but given the situation I thought it was an appropriate response.”
Khabib and Lobov infamously clashed in a New York hotel earlier this year, prompting McGregor to fly in and attack a UFC bus that Khabib was travelling in. (https://au.sports.yahoo.com/khabib-levels-shocking-accusation-ufc-064602862.html)
UFC boss Dana White labelled McGregor’s actions “the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of the company”.
The incident proved to be the spark for the crazy scenes that went down after Khabib submitted McGregor at UFC 229.
with Yahoo Sports US.