Most UFC fans will never forget that fateful night at UFC 205 when Conor McGregor solidified his superstar status, knocking out Eddie Alvarez and becoming the first man in UFC history to hold two belts at the same time and just only the fourth to hold two belts in two different weight classes.
But also on that night, another man had made a statement of his own when he completely beat down, then submitted his opponent, then grabbed a microphone and challenged the new lightweight king. That man happens to still be undefeated in MMA and is also now the current reigning UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
In a way, you could say it’s been destined for both Mcgregor and Nurmagomedov to meet each other inside the octagon, only the problem has been the circumstances they’ve had to endure to make it happen, but, should things turn out for the better in the controversial Irishman’s court case next month, we may finally get to see this epic match up take place.
McGregor’s striking coach Owen Roddy, spoke with MMANytt recently about the rumors circulating that Nurmagomedov’s first challenge to his newly won championship could come in the form of the Notorious one. Roddy says the rumors could have some merit to them.
“I can’t confirm anything but it would be great,” Roddy said. “Conor’s training hard, he’s always training. He’s motivated and he wants to fight, it’s just that he gets a few things sorted out and then he sits down and negotiates a good deal for his next fight. I think it will be another big spectacle like they always are. So I’m excited, just like everybody else.”
“I don’t know but I think [Khabib]’s at the forefront. I always say, Conor wants the biggest fights that he can possibly have and I think, at the moment, Khabib seems to be that guy.”
Ever since the night of UFC 205, the two UFC stars have also traveled down two individual opposite roads with McGregor’s road being the hardest as shortly after winning the UFC lightweight belt, he went on to accept a big money boxing match against undefeated pound-4-pound great Floyd Mayweather JR. which he ended up losing via 10th round TKO.
Despite the loss, McGregor was deposited 1 million dollars for the fight. During the lead up to the fight, McGregor was wrapped up in a crisis with the UFC in terms of having not defending his lightweight championship, frustrated by this gesture UFC President Dana White had no choice but to strip him of the title due to the inactivity. He also was stripped featherweight championship upon moving up to 155 pounds and winning that title.
Then of course came the infamous UFC 223 incident this past April which saw McGregor gone on a path of uncontrollable rage, as he raided a bus contained with UFC fighters inside including members of Nurmagomedov’s team, by hurling a large dolly at through the window of the vehicle and injuring UFC 223 participants Micheal Chieasa and Ray Borg. Shortly there after, Conor and his teammate who also took part in the melee were arrested.
For Khabib, his road was much more simpler as he displayed two of his most dominate performances inside the octagon, the most notable one against Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 who became a late substitution for original opponent Tony Ferguson which saw Nurmagomedov capture the then vacant UFC lightweight championship.
With that said, regardless of the paths taken, this is no doubt the next biggest fight the UFC has to make, and because of the UFC 223 fiasco that occured it should add some real spice to it as far as storyline is concerned.
But before we can start booking our flights and make our plans to pack out the sports bars to witness this, one piece of business has to be handled which is Conor McGregor’s legal situation. Mcgregor is set to reappear in court on July 26th as he is currently in the process of negotiating a legal plea.
Assuming that day turns out positive for Conor, Roddy says he’ll have his man ready to face Khabib as soon as a deal is in place, and he’s supremely confident that Mcgregor will once again become UFC Lightweight Champion.
“The striker’s always at an advantage because you start standing and you start at range,” Roddy said. “The grappler always has to get around that and find his way into the clinch and it’s very, very difficult to do that without taking a big shot off Conor. It’s just about setting traps and putting his opponent in positions where they’re vulnerable. He’s got phenomenal takedown defense. You’ve seen that in some of his other fights. . . He’s no slouch there so we’re more than prepared to fight anybody.”
Do you believe Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor will fight in 2018?