The UFC announced several weeks ago that ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor will finally be returning to MMA action at UFC 229 when he takes on arguably the biggest challenge of his career in Khabib Nurmagomedov in what could very well be one of the biggest fights of all time.
McGregor will have been out of Octagon action for nearly 2 years when this fight is scheduled to take place on October 6th, 2018, and the question is – is Nurmagomedov the correct opponent for Conor at this time or has Conor bitten off more than he can chew?
To say that Khabib has been on a roll would likely be considered an understatement in most circles as he has quite literally destroyed just about every opponent he’s faced so far. Also, since Conor’s been out of action, Khabib has defeated two very tough opponents in the highly touted Edson Barboza as well as the very game last-minute replacement, Al Iaquinta, respectively.
However, despite the ring rust that McGregor will almost certainly possess come fight night, Khabib has shown some flaws here and there (albeit very few), particularly in his striking game. Plus, he’s never really fought a knockout puncher like Conor McGregor before.
With that being said, though, Conor himself hasn’t fought a grappler like Khabib before which is why this matchup is so damn interesting. You have a top-of-the-food-chain grappler versus one of the best strikers currently in the UFC, both of whom are in their primes which hardly ever happens.
Not to mention, both fighters are particularly unique in their skill set, with Khabib’s dominant grappling combined with vicious ground and pound taking on Conor’s impressive striking acumen highlighted by his one-punch knockout power.
What makes McGregor a more dangerous opponent for Khabib, however, is that Conor can end the fight in a split second with his knockout power whereas if it ends up being Khabib’s night, it’ll be more drawn out but perhaps even more brutal.
There is also a serious argument to be made that whoever wins this fight is not only the best lightweight in the world but also one of the greatest fighters of all time, certainly of this era.
The one critique I have with this matchup is the venue where the fight is taking place – the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. I think they missed the boat in not making this fight in Russia or Ireland or perhaps even a stadium show like Roger’s Centre or Australia as this fight certainly has the potential to be a sell out wherever it goes.
Although this fight announcement hasn’t garnered near the same amount of buzz so far when compared to last years MayMac boxing extravaganza, this is the far superior matchup as you have two elite-level competitors competing in their chosen sport who have both been blowing their competition out of the water (save a few instances) and for once we’re actually going to see who’s really the best fighter of this era.
Who do you think will come out on top?