UFC 229 is finally upon us in what is possibly the biggest and most anticipated fight to take place in UFC history. Two bitter rivals, will battle it out for the UFC 155lbs title.
After nearly two years away from the sport, the former two division Champion, Conor McGregor will make his return to take back the Lightweight title he once held. This title now belongs to the undefeated Russian, Khabib Nurmagomedov who has gone undefeated with a perfect record of 26-0.
This matchup is one to get any mixed martial arts fan excited but a personal element has also been added into the equation. The events surrounding UFC 223 really kicked off the rivalry between the pair, with Conor McGregor throwing a dolly through a bus loaded with UFC fighters including Khabib and his team. This was in retaliation to an altercation between Khabib and McGregor’s team mate Artem Lobov and it is clear things have now become personal between the two. “If you had got off that bus, you’d be dead and I would be in jail,” Conor McGregor told Khabib at their first press conference.
We all know mental warfare is Conor McGregor’s forte, but Khabib insists he can separate his emotions even after McGregor attacked his family and political stand point. “This is a little more personal. I want to make this guy pay. This guy is going to pay about everything, what he said, what he did. We’re here now. We’re very close.” Khabib told Ariel Helwani.
Khabib is predicting a mauling and is confident he will have McGregor ready to quit after dragging him into deep waters. With that being said, McGregor is going to face his toughest test as he will need to avoid being taken down to the mat where Khabib is at his most dangerous. As we have seen in previous fights, Khabib is relentless with his takedowns and can maul his opponent for 3 rounds on the ground. But that is if Khabib can get him there. McGregor’s strong point is his left hand and pin point accuracy. It hasn’t yet been proven if Khabib has what it takes to go toe to toe and box with McGregor, considering his previous experiences within the octagon and boxing ring.
McGregor predicts a KO stoppage but hopes it doesn’t come too quickly. He told Ariel Helwani of ESPN “It’s going to be a devastating KO, I hope it won’t be too early, I don’t believe (Khabib) can take a smack. Has he got the chin of Diaz or the poise of Mayweather ? He’s got a glass chin that’s never had a crack, not from a sniper rifle.”
If McGregor doesn’t get the outcome he predicts in the early rounds then the fight may play out to Khabib’s advantage. Either way, all eyes will be glued on this fight with the numbers predicting to reach 2.5million PPV buys, according to UFC President Dana White.
Find out what fellow UFC fighters had to say about the match up.