UFC 229 Conor vs. Khabib – Real Story Behind MMA’s Heated Rivalry

Mirror Mirror On The Wall, Tell Us Who Is The Strongest Of Them All?

UFC 229, Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Three sides of a perfect triangle – a mighty pyramid power that’s sure to capture far-reaching attention. Both laterals – Nurmagomedov and McGregor – stand on UFC base, primed for a head-on collision but only one can emerge as the undisputed, mightiest king of the lightweight division. With UFC 229 right under their noses, each artist is looking to subdue the other with anger and angst, power and pride, and horror and honor.

UFC has been home turf for momentous fights. Each time any two of the world class wrestlers, kickboxers and martial artists cannon into each other, a masterpiece is created. Unique, exhilarating and zealous. And this is what exactly is expected out of UFC 229. Or even more.

With a handful of days to go to UFC’s biggest fight, much has been said and written about the colossal clash. With many hopes and aspirations tied to the outcome of the fight, the upcoming bout has become as important as sun.

Which makes one wonder that why the showmanship fight has garnered so much public attention?

While many may consider the bout as a mere battle of titans, it is in fact more than that.

Here’s what makes UFC 229 stand out as one of its kind.

Humble Beginnings

Though most of us consider the feud between the best potentials of UFC dating back to April’s bus scandal this year where Conor ruthlessly shoved a trolley on a bus carrying notable MMA artists including Khabib, the first signs of the ferocious rivalry can be traced back to 2015.

The debut sign of this bitter animosity came when McGregor responded to a fan’s question about who he thought would get the lightweight belt and the Notorious responded Khabib ahead of his featherweight bout with Jose Aldo in March 2015.

Then in April 2016, the Dagestani Eagle stunned the audience by calling out to McGregor to lock horns with him inside on lightweight’s canvas. This came as a surprise for many fans, as the Irish artist was still contending for featherweight division.

Conor’s ultimate win in featherweight category made him sure to notch up a division. An outstanding performance inside the ring by dispatching a 13-second KO to a brutal opponent and a subsequent move up the weight division established the Notorious as top league artists in MMA.

Though everything was in the air then, there were talks about a probable fight in the next division. It had now become evident that the naïve, blonde haired lad from Ireland had a lot of potential stacked up and it wouldn’t be long when the artist would be beefing with someone with a bigger size in 155lb. division.

Khabib Dances To A New Tune

As soon as news about McGregor entering the new division were rife, Khabib started playing a new tune. The Russian prodigy back-pedaled saying that instead of trying to get a belt from another division, it would be quite beneficial for the Irishman if he worked on defending his current wrap.

New Year brought glad tidings for the Irishman. Not only he notched up a division but also grabbed a spot in title contention bout. Though the replacement was made for the initial opponent McGregor had to face, the bout ended in a draw that became the headline for the remaining part of that year.

The Russian Sparkles In Limelight

The Russian made his cage appearance on April 16, 2016 after staying away from the octagon for nearly two years, making him eligible for a win over quick-replacement Darrel Horcher. Though the victory wasn’t too big, it acted as a milestone in getting himself recognized as a lightweight artist.

This was just the beginning of the Dagestani native’s rise to stardom. News of a surprise fight with Eddie Alvarez with Nurmagomedov was like a bolt from the blue for most MMA fans. However, the fight never came to fruition and instead Alvarez vs. McGregor was finally materialized. Though Khabib was offered another bout in the same event, he was clearly frustrated, eyeing hungrily a title shot and the prize money. There is ample evidence to support this fact, as Khabib and McGregor both got caught up in a verbal warfare at UFC 205 weigh ins.

UFC 205 & The Irishman

UFC 205 proved a gold mine for the Irish fighter. The Notorious unleashed his best potential dispatching a humiliating second-round defeat to Eddie Alvarez, wrapping up belts from two divisions. But the pride didn’t last long, as soon he had to relinquish his both accolades. Just a few weeks down the lane McGregor had to bid farewell to his featherweight belt. Rumors were everywhere about the sudden rise and fall of Mystic Man. Soon news about a boxing bout between McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. rocked the combat sports world.

Though Nurmagomedov had already pulled out from previous fights, it didn’t stop him from doing the same again in his bout against Tony Ferguson in UFC 209 owning to weight cut. His inability to compete in a notable bout kept him out of the cage for the larger part of 2017.

Meanwhile the Irish got his chance to test his limits against boxing’s unbeaten Floyd Mayweather on August 16, 2017. After battling for 10 rounds, the Irishman finally embraced the canvas.

Just before the close of 2017, the Russian made his appearance against Edson Barboza, dispatching defeat to the latter and getting himself recognized for his exceptional qualities. The win opened his doors for a title bout against fellow contender Tony Ferguson.

Things Get Steamier

On April 3, 2018 a viral video showed Nurmagomedov along with his teammates engaging in calling match with Artem Lobov. Lobov had close ties with McGregor. Two days after verbal warfare, following a UFC 223 media event, McGregor along with his peers suddenly appeared in the parking. McGregor attacked UFC’s bus by throwing a hand truck at it, which was carrying many notable fighters along with Nurmagomedov and his manager.  The window of the bus broke down, injuring two fighters. However, McGregor’s prime victim, Nurmagomedov remained unhurt.

An arrest warrant for Conor was issued following this extremely disturbing event and the Irishman handed himself to the authorities. The Mystic Mac was charged on accounts of criminal mischief and assault. While McGregor has been working since then in improving his overall image, this incident is regarded as the darkest in UFC’s history, bringing his dark side into public eye. This incident also caused a stoppage in his UFC career.

Nurmagomedov Is Blessed Again, McGregor Falls From Grace Again

With a change in plans for who would take on Nurmagomedov in UFC 223, the Russian Eagle finally locked horns with Tony Ferguson replacement, Al Iaquinta on April 7, 2018. The fight brought forward glad tidings for Khabib as he successfully trampled over his opponent. While there were many confusions regarding McGregor’s status, Dana White shushed everyone by declaring that the Irishman was no longer lightweight champion, as he had been stripped of his title.

This was the point that the rivalry between the two best of lightweight gained mammoth attention from media, public, fans and critics. There was huge mainstream visibility especially about the bus incident. It was evident that all matters between the two were not settled and a final showdown had to take place.

McGregor Freed From All Charges

McGregor’s fans feared that the Irishman would be strapped at the wrist for his notorious behaviour, however, as time passed by, it became evident that the result of his actions wouldn’t have grave consequences. On July 26, McGregor was freed from all charges owing to his no contest plea. McGregor had to serve only five days in community service. With his offense cleared off, Dana opened his arms wide open for McGregor to make his comeback into the octagon.

Conor vs. Khabib Is Finally Made Official

No longer than a week after being cleared off from all the charges, speculations about a much-awaited Conor vs. Khabib started re-surfacing. Finally UFC confirmed the news as the two would be locking horns in UFC 229 on October 6 in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Nuts & Bolts of Conor vs. Khabib

A lot has been said about the upcoming bout. While both artists enjoy unprecedented skills, impressive fan base and worldwide popularity, let’s have a look at the ground facts.

Event UFC 229 UFC 229
Title Lightweight Belt Defender Lightweight Belt Challenger
Fighters Khabib Nurmagomedov – The Eagle Conor McGregor – The Notorious, Mystic Mac
Country Russia Ireland
Record 26-0-0 21-3-0
KO/TKO 31% 81%
Submission 31% 5%
Height 70 inches 69 inches
Weight 155lbs 155lbs
Reach 70 inches 74 inches
Leg Reach 40 inches 40 inches
Landed per Minute 4.34 5.82
Accuracy 48.75% 47.63%
Defense 70.35% 57.27%
Takedown Average 5.44 0.92
Takedown Accuracy 44.95% 62.5%
Takedowns Defended 84.62% 73.91%
Submission Average 0.55 000

Pros for Conor McGregor:

  • KO/TKO: 81% – 50% higher than Khabib
  • Reach Advantage: 4 inches more
  • Landed per minute: 5.82 – 48 higher than Khabib
  • Takedown Accuracy: 62.5% – 55% higher than his opponent

Pros for Khabib Nurmagomedov:

  • Submission: 31% -26% more than Conor
  • Height Advantage: 70 inches – 1 inch taller than opponent
  • Accuracy of strikes: 75% – 1.12% higher than Conor
  • Defense: 70.35% – 08% greater than opponent
  • Takedown Average: 5.44 – 52 higher than Conor
  • Takedowns Defended: 84.62% – 71% more
  • Submission Average: 0.55 – 55 higher than opponent

Considering the above advantages for both artists, right now Khabib is dominating with improved skills than his opponent.

And The Best

And now comes the real question, “Who is the best of the best?”

RDX Sports has been keenly observing all the developments of UFC 229. We have been actively following both fighters and been running polls on our social media accounts to predict the outcome of the fight. Here are few insights from the fans of both artists about different aspects of the bout.

  • Who was dominant in UFC 299 Press Conference?
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov: 10%
  • Conor McGregor: 63%
  • Neutral: 27% 

#questionoftheday #ufc229 Press Conference who took this one?#ufc229 #ufc #mcgregorkhabib

Posted by RDX Sports on Friday, September 21, 2018

  • Khabib Beats Conor
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov: 0%
  • Conor McGregor: 0%
  • Neutral: 100%

When you get to know!#UFC #UFC229 #ConorMcgregor #Khabib #McgregorKhabib

Posted by RDX Sports on Friday, September 7, 2018

  • Conor vs. Khabib Training
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov: 0%
  • Conor McGregor: 0%
  • Neutral: 0%

MCGREGOR vs KHABIB STRENGTH TRAINING SIDE BY SIDE

#UFC229 Conor McGregor vs Khabib "the Eagle" Nurmagomedov Training STRENGTH exercises before their clash on OCTOBER 6, UFC 229! Who is better at the rowing machine, abs training, bench press, squats and other fitness, gym workouts?#KhabibMcgregor #UFC229 #UFC #UFCFightNight #Notorious #TheEagle

Posted by RDX Sports on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

 

  • Bear or Gorilla?
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov: 0%
  • Conor McGregor: 0%
  • Neutral: 0%

Date:Sun, 7 OctVenue:T-Mobile ArenaKhabibNurmagomedov26-0-0ConorMcGregor21-3-0Bear or Gorilla?#UFC229 #UFC #KhabibMcgreggor #KhabibTheEagleNurmagomedov #ConorTheNotoriousMcgreggor

Posted by RDX Sports on Wednesday, August 15, 2018

  • Who hold the quickest knockout power?
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov: 19%
  • Conor McGregor: 81%
  • Neutral: 0%

Out of the two who holds the quickest knockout of their opponent? how many second? and who was the opponent?#UFC #UFC229 #KhabibTheEagle #ConorMcgreggor #Notorious #KhabibMcgreggor

Posted by RDX Sports on Wednesday, August 15, 2018

  • Who you got at UFC 229?
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov: 50%
  • Conor McGregor: 50%
  • Neutral: 0%

After all its happeningWho you got? #UFC229

Posted by RDX Sports on Saturday, August 4, 2018

  • UFC 229, Bear or Gorilla?
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov: 0%
  • Conor McGregor: 0%
  • Neutral: 100%

Bear or Gorilla?#UFC #UFC229 #McgregorVsKhabib

Posted by RDX Sports on Saturday, August 11, 2018

Prediction based on insights gathered from polls and posts: Conor McGregor with KO

Who do you think stands a better chance of winning lightweight wrap and why?