It was an incident that tarnished the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s reputation, but Khabib Nurmagomedov is open to mending his fractured relationship with Conor McGregor after the un-pleasantries that marred the end of UFC 229 in October.
Nurmagomedov scaled the Octagon to attack McGregor’s team after clinching victory in the fourth round of the main event, with a full-on brawl erupting which will now see both parties face disciplinary hearings in December.
“Everything is possible. Just as McGregor and I feuded, so we could reconcile. Who are we not to forgive one another when the Almighty forgives us,” Nurmagomedov told the Press Association, via The Independent.
McGregor and Nurmagomedov will both sit in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission on December 10th and no matter what penalties are potentially dished out, the Russian champion has got the ball rolling in terms of a civil make-up between the pair.
History of the feud
Cast your minds back to 2015 when McGregor had recently confirmed his fight with Jose Aldo at UFC 194. The Irishman was asked prior to the fight who he thought would take the lightweight belt and after pondering over a response, ‘Nurmagomedov’ was his answer.
Hardly the catalyst to start the chain reaction that followed, but Nurmagomedov took McGregor’s comments with more than a pinch of salt and instigated a reply that likely got under McGregor’s skin.
“I can smash Conor in under four minutes,” proclaimed the undefeated Russian. Not a bad prediction, considering he did it in just over three minutes during their fight on October 6th!
McGregor had plenty on his plate to consider a response to Nurmagomedov at the time but after quite literally smashing Aldo to the canvas – inside 13 seconds – the Dublin-born superstar moved up from featherweight to lightweight.
That escalated quickly
Naturally, talks of a showdown began to gather pace but Nurmagomedov appeared to change his tune and tried to steer talks away from a potential match-up. However, in early 2016, the pair had their first verbal exchange and although details of what was actually said remain unclear, you can assume it wasn’t civil.
It’s almost reminiscent of a feud in boxing, with both fighters engineering insults to enhance the excitement of an upcoming event. Heavyweight’s Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder are a prime example, who go toe-to-toe on Saturday night and the trash talk has certainly left fans drooling at the prospect. Wilder v Fury betting odds are available via Paddy Power.
Nonetheless, in 2018 things started to really hot-up between two of UFC’s hottest properties. McGregor criticised Nurmagomedov’s religion and family before taking it upon himself to attack a bus that contained the lightweight champion. A hand truck was launched towards the vehicle from McGregor which resulted in two of the fighters on-board sustaining minor injuries.
A warrant was issued for the arrest of McGregor and although he got off lightly for the incident, a deal was finally struck in August for the pair to square off at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada.
What happens next?
The NSAC will decide what happens to McGregor and Nurmagomedov in little over a fortnight’s time but it’s expected both men will face further sanctions.
Nurmagomedov had his $2m purse withheld from the commission and was suspended for ten days. Although, he has been since been awarded half of his earnings. McGregor’s purse wasn’t kept back but he did succumb to a ten day suspension as well, with NSAC chairman Anthony Marnell admitting he wish he had held back McGregor’s $3m earnings, according to BJPenn.com.
Both fighters have since been banned indefinitely until December’s hearing, with the likelihood that a lengthy suspension will be decided and sizeable fines to suit.