Following his UFC 229 win, Khabib Nurmagomedov eclipsed the fight itself and made front-page news after jumping the cage to fight McGregor’s grappling coach Dillon Danis while members of his own team punched away at Conor McGregor.
The man the Russian was trying to fight was McGregor’s jiu-jitsu coach Dillon Danis. The 25-year-old, who was first brought into McGregor’s camp for his UFC 202 clash with Nate Diaz, was seen as a potentially key part of nullifying Nurmagomedov’s grappling dominance.
For Khabib to go after the black belt jiu-jitsu coach was unjustified, yet for “The Eagle”, behind McGregor Danis was almost as reviled and culpable for the heated nature of the rivalry.
Meanwhile, two members of Khabib’s team including UFC featherweight Zubaira Tukhugov jumped into the cage to strike Conor McGregor assaulting the Irishman in the back of the head.
After the fight, three members of the undefeated fighter’s team were arrested for assault, and it is without doubt their actions were uncalled for.
Speaking after being escorted out of the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas the Russian apologised to the UFC and the state of Nevada stating:
“I want to say sorry to the athletic commission of Nevada and Vegas, I know this is not my best side, I am human”
Yet the 30-year-old quickly transitioned from defence to attack criticising his opponent’s mind games: “He talk about my religion. He talk about my country. He talk about my father.”
Conor McGregor’s mind games are well documented, with the best results of his psychological warfare coming in his fight with Jose Aldo getting the Brazilian overemotional forcing him to over-commit in the first round.
Yet in this case, it only made Khabib Nurmagnomedov, a former fan of the Irishman, have an even deeper hatred of the former two-weight champion – case in point Khabib refusing to let go of Conor after the round had ended.
Previously after fights, Khabib has been very respectful and humble dropping to his knees to thank Allah before thanking his opponent. His actions on Saturday night where in stark contrast to his normally calm and humble nature.
A victorious, yet stone cold Khabib himself openly admitted that it got to him stating:
“This is respect sport, not trash talking sport. I want to change this game, I don’t want people talking about people, fathers, nations and religion. You can’t talk about this stuff.”
It is unclear what will happen after the dust has settled, but the Dagestan-born fighter could face a lengthy suspension from the sport, not to mention he could be stripped of his title should Dana White feel particularly cruel. At present, the Nevada State Athletic Commission are withholding Khabib’s fight purse, but not McGregor’s.
The lightweight champion ended his press conference by cracking a smile before talking about the repercussions of his actions in regards to his father: “I know he will smash me.”