Conor McGregor lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov on October 6 three years ago, but the fight is remembered for the ugly post-match scenes.
The rivalry between mixed martial artists Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov is a unique one. It has to be, in recent memory, one of the most bad-blooded rivalries the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has seen. It wasn’t merely down to the fact that both saw themselves as UFC’s top dogs. McGregor, in classic fashion, used plenty of underhanded digs to get at Khabib. This meant that, by the time the two were ready to square off, tempers were at a boiling point. Thus it is not at all shocking that the fight – and its aftermath – lives on the more infamous parts of UFC’s history.
But the main reason it’s so unique is because it only ever yielded one match. Matches of this magnitude usually go to a trilogy, at the very least. Yet that did not happen in this case.
With three years having passed since the fight took place, let us look back at an infamous fight for the ages.
Conor McGregor was flying high in 2018, but Khabib Nurmagomedov was seen by eagle-eyed viewers – no pun intended – as the man who could dethrone him.
Remember, McGregor was a double champion at one point in 2017, holding both the lightweight and featherweight championships. However, he never defended the former belt. A lucrative boxing match with Floyd Mayweather and the birth of his child saw him take time off – and get stripped off the title.
Khabib, meanwhile, built himself up with an undefeated streak of 25-0 before he finally got a shot at the vacant lightweight championship. He beat Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 to win the belt, but that event was remembered for something else.
Before the event got underway, a buss carrying several of the competitors – including Khabib – was attacked by McGregor and his crew.
As such, the event was plenty heated up even before a punch was thrown. And things would only get more heated afterwards.
The match saw Khabib put in a dominant performance, as he beat McGregor via submission in Round 4. That in itself was quite the story, but it would be paled by what followed.
Right after the bell was called, Khabib would carry on trash talking McGregor. That in itself was unusual, since such behaviour is usually common to Conor.
Khabib then pointed at and threw his mouthguard at McGregor’s jiu-jitsu coach Dillon Danis. In a surreal scene for the ages, Khabib then climbed the octagon and attacked Danis in the crowd.
A brawl naturally erupted, with members of Khabib’s entourage managing to sneak into the octagon and attack McGregor. Eventually security got things in order, with Khabib and Conor now in the cage and having to be seperated.
The crowd were quite charged up too, resulting in UFC president Dana White opting not to present Khabib the belt right there. His thinking was that such an event would send the crowd over the edge.
Three members of Khabib’s team were arrested, and his winner’s purse was held back by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. An investigation was eventually launched, with Khabib getting a nine-month suspension, retroactive to the day. He was also fined half a million dollars.
McGregor too was handed a six month suspension, along with a 50,000 dollar fine. Danis too didn’t esxape unscathed, as he was given a seven month suspension and a fine of 7,500 dollars.
What’s more, the two would continue to trade barbs after the event – something that happens even now. Yet another fight between the two titans seems all but unlikely at this point.
Khabib would only go on to have two more fights in the UFC. His first title defence came against Dustin Poirier, who would go on to beat McGregor twice in 2021. Unsurprisingly, Khabib won that bout.
His final fight came against Justin Gaethje, although no one knew at the time it would be his last bout. He won the fight at UFC 254, then retired right after the fight in a shocking move.
“No way I’m going to come here without my father. It was first time after what happened with my father, when UFC called me about Justin, I talk with my mother three days,” he said.
“She doesn’t want me to go fight without my father but I promised her it was going to be my last fight. If I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.”
The death of his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, due to COVID-19, had a profound impact not only on Khabib but fighters who trained with him too. True to his word, Khabib has stayed retired.
McGregor, meanwhile, was never the same fighter. He did beat Donald Cerrone after a year-long hiatus – and a fake retirement. However, he would retire again thereafter – before unretiring to face Poirier.
Against Poirier, he suffered two losses, the latter of which saw him suffer a broken leg. It remains unclear when he will be back in the octagon. Or if another fight with Khabib will remain a pipe dream.