Khabib v McGregor: The time for talking is over

Khabib v McGregor: The time for talking is over
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor are separated by UFC president Dana White during a news conference in New York on Thursday. Photo: AP/Seth Wenig

Ciaran O'Flynn

We are just a little over one week away from the biggest fight in UFC history.

On Saturday October 6, former featherweight and lightweight UFC champion Conor McGregor makes his eagerly anticipated return when he faces the current undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in Las Vegas.

This fight is not just your ordinary UFC title fight between two fighters. For both McGregor and Nurmagomedov this is far more personal. This has been an ongoing feud for some time now.

The hatred for one another hit a climax back in April of this year when we saw the now-famous footage of McGregor attacking and throwing a dolly through the window of Nurmagomedov's bus. An action that resulted in several lawsuits and community service for the Irishman.

McGregor has been absent from the UFC promotion for nearly 23 months now, with his last showing coming back in November 2016, a dominant display over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 to crown him the promotions first two-weight world champion.

In his absence, we have seen the rise of certain Khabib Nurmagomedov. With a perfect undented record of 26 wins and 0 losses the Russian is one of the most feared fighters not just in the lightweight division but the entire UFC roster.

Nurmagomedov is mostly known for his superior wrestling abilities, taking his opponents down and keeping them there for the majority of the fight while also utilising a brutal ground and pound game. Nurmagomedov 's coach and teammates have also he has never even lost a round to any teammates in training.

So how can McGregor overcome such an overwhelming opponent? Well, Nurmagomedov is not without his flaws. Where McGregor will have a superior advantage is keeping this fight standing.

McGregor with his speed, power and accuracy will cause Nurmagomedov a lot of problems if the fight stays standing and we have seen Nurmagomedov get hit several times in the last two fights.

Conor McGregor poses for a picture during a news conference in New York on Thursday. Photo: AP/Seth Wenig
Conor McGregor poses for a picture during a news conference in New York on Thursday. Photo: AP/Seth Wenig

Another tactic McGregor may utilise is performing damage from the bottom. It's inevitable Nurmagomedov will take him down but instead of draining energy trying to get back up like all his previous opponents make it uncomfortable for him.

In one of McGregor's previous fights at UFC 189 against Chad Mendes we saw Mendes take McGregor down repeatedly, however, McGregor was doing more damage landing a flurry of elbows each time. I can see McGregor implementing a similar tactic against Nurmagomedov.

Another interesting part of this fight is if Nurmagomedov loses the first round. How will he cope mentally? How will he deal with adversity? After never losing a single round in your 26 professional fights and suddenly, your one round down. An element of doubt will surely creep in.

If Nurmagomedov can utilize his game plan like he has done on his previous 26 opponents it will be a long night for McGregor. However, he has never faced anyone with the striking abilities of McGregor, and if the Irishman can land that famous left hand he will retain the title he never lost.

More on this topic

Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson to appear at Cork Fight-ConStephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson to appear at Cork Fight-Con

Tyson Fury: 'I want to train with Conor McGregor'Tyson Fury: 'I want to train with Conor McGregor'

Suspect arrested over kidnapping of UFC fighter’s stepdaughterSuspect arrested over kidnapping of UFC fighter’s stepdaughter

McGregor hints at reversing MMA retirementMcGregor hints at reversing MMA retirement

More in this Section

Trio of away wins and a draw in O'Byrne CupTrio of away wins and a draw in O'Byrne Cup

Late Robin Copeland try caps Connacht comeback win over GloucesterLate Robin Copeland try caps Connacht comeback win over Gloucester

Salah scores twice as Liverpool march on with win over WatfordSalah scores twice as Liverpool march on with win over Watford

Mourinho not able to give “fundamental” Kane another breakMourinho not able to give “fundamental” Kane another break


Lifestyle

Want to be cultured this Christmas? From TV to podcasts to books, Ed Power has the definite list of everything you missed this year - so you can curl up on the couch and catch upThe definite list of everything you missed this year

Artist Ciara Rodgers teaches older people how to rediscover their creativity and regain confidence, says Rowena WalshBrush with art: Discovering your creative side in later life

Furniture, paintings, jewellery and silver are on offer at James Adam in Dublin, writes Des O’SullivanAll set for home run: See what's on offer at the James Adam sale in Dublin

It’s not too late to hunt out a unique gift. Des O’Sullivan previews sales in the lead-up to the festive seasonA flurry of auctions in Munster sets the scene for Christmas

More From The Irish Examiner