Western Courier

Khabib versus McGregor: the feud of the century

The UFC 229 poster featuring Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor.

The UFC 229 poster featuring Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor.



The UFC 229 poster featuring Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor.

Brie Coder, Copy Editor

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LAS VEGAS — Torment. Hostility. Enmity. These three words describe the six month feud that has been brewing between Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov (26-0) and “The Notorious” Conor McGregor (21-3).

This Saturday, these two men will finally put their ammunition to use as they square off for the UFC Lightweight Championship at UFC 229 in Las Vegas. Blood will be spewed and there is no way this fight will end in a clean way.

A match like this is a once and a lifetime kind of a thing. We will be witnessing a real David vs Goliath in terms of McGregor being Mr. UFC (Goliath) and Nurmagomedov (David), who won the lightweight title back in April. It’s just a matter of asking will David really “kill” (defeat) Goliath?

How this match came about is quite a chaotic story. It all began back in April, during the UFC 223 conference, when McGregor and his friends decided to attack a bus containing fighters like Nurmagomedov, Artem Lobov, Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg, due to being told that he was going to be stripped of his lightweight title because he was not defending it on a regular basis. Some thought his actions were to create publicity and make UFC more exciting again, while others thought it was because McGregor was actually quite enraged with White’s decision.

This was the second title McGregor had stripped. The first one was his featherweight belt that he won back in UFC 189 in July of 2015. Since UFC president Dana White saw a lot of potential in McGregor, he wanted him to go more towards the lightweight title and not to focus on the featherweight belt. Because of that, McGregor agreed and decided to drop that title and focus on the higher up ones.

While being the lightweight champion, McGregor had other priorities then defending his newly established title belt. He wanted to take time off to be with his newborn son, and to end the beef he had with legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. back in August of 2017.

Even though he lost the match to Mayweather, due to a technical knockout in the 10th-round, he proved many critics and fans wrong by outlasting what most people predicted he’d last, which was 3-5 rounds tops.

Because of his other obligations, White only thought it was fair for other contenders to fight for the lightweight title back in April. After several changes to who would compete for the title, it came down to Nurmagomedov versus Al Iaquinta in a five-round match. The Eagle by a unanimous decision became the new de facto champion of the lightweight belt.

Nurmagomedov couldn’t express enough in interviews after the bus incident and when McGregor was let go from law enforcement that he wanted to get his hands on the “coward.” It was only a matter of time before White could make this match officially happen. Several factors stood in the way of this match happening sooner than this Saturday. The first was if McGregor was going to spend time in jail, which he didn’t, instead he was let go with fines and community service duties, and his immigration status. When everything looked up on McGregor’s end, the advertisement for this match began back in August.

When it comes to Khabib and McGregor’s style of fighting, both have strengths in their attacks but The Eagle is more dominant in his grapple attacks and McGregor is stronger with his strikes. Nurmagomedov is quick when it comes to taking down his opponents. He has this Superman strength, and with a strong background in wrestling, we can expect he’ll be throwing McGregor down a lot during this match.

Meanwhile McGregor is quick with his kicks and hits. We haven’t seen him kick in a long time, but here’s to hoping that he’ll use his cat like reflexes and try to do anything in his power to avoid being taken down. The only concern I see is that The Notorious likes to fight fast and put his strongest moves out first, and then once he hits the third and fourth rounds, he starts moving slower. If McGregor can maintain his stamina in each round, he could come out victorious.

Let’s remember here the biggest thing on the line this Saturday for these two men is not so much the title, but their pride. If McGregor walks out of Las Vegas the champion, this could hurt Nurmagomedov’s reputation, especially since he’s an up and coming MMA fighter who has a lot of big opportunities ahead of him, and White needs to recognize these types of men more.

If McGregor wins, he’ll once again be the face of the UFC, which will leave a bad taste in a lot of fighter’s mouths, and will cause many fighters to be pushed off to the side and forgotten for future title opportunities.

There is a lot at stake this weekend, but rest assured all the backlash, smack talking and threats will come to an end. Well at least for now.

twitter: boxin_briecoder

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Khabib versus McGregor: the feud of the century