Every sports enthusiast in the world looked forward to 6 October: the biggest fight in UFC history between Khabib Nurmagomedov “The Eagle” and Conor McGregor “The Notorious”.
The Dagistani moved to 27-0 with a convincing victory over Conor retaining his lightweight title. He forced McGregor into submission in the fourth round with a choke-hold. However, soon after the fight, he jumped out of the cage and attacked Dillon Danis, a member of McGregor’s team, while the Irishman himself was also punched in the ring by two men, reportedly members of Khabib’s entourage.
Post-fight Press Conference
Nurmagomedov said he was sorry for the post-fight brawl, but insisted he was provoked as Conor made inflammatory comments about his father, his country and his religion, which he considers the most important thing for him.
During the press conference after the fight, Khabib apologized to Nevada athletic commission.
“I know this is not my best side. People are talking about how I jumped over the cage. I’m a human, he talked about my religion, my country, my father, He came to Brooklyn, he broke bus and nearly killed two people. So why do people still talk about me jumping over the cage? I have shown respect.”
“This is a respectful sport. This is not a trash-talking sport. I want to change this game. You cannot talk about religions and nations. This for me is very important. Thank you for waiting for me. I know my father is gonna smash me when I go home.”
Khabib was reunited with his belt at the press conference; UFC boss Dana White initially refused to present Khabib with his victory belt, citing the toxic atmosphere.
In the build-up to the fight on Saturday, McGregor launched a series of verbal attacks on the Russian, making offensive remarks about his family, his Muslim faith and the Dagestan region of his homeland.
Conor went to “dark places” in order to spark Khabib ‘s outburst at UFC 229. He attempted to thrust a glass of his own brand of whiskey into Khabib’s face during a pre-fight press call. But Khabib remained calm during the provocation and simply replied: “I don’t drink.” Conor also accused Khabib’s manager (his father) of being a “f****** snitch, terrorist rat”.
Khabib, the captivating and fascinating champion
Many admire the trendy dressed, smooth-talking, high-living Conor and his “boxing-first” style, a sharp contrast to the tracksuit wearing, soft-spoken, and stone-faced Nurmagomedov, a publicly practicing and devout Muslim who is said to live a sober, modest life. Unlike McGregor, Khabib shies away from the spotlight, and is protective of his private life.
He told Los Angeles Times that his faith is the most important thing in his life.
“You go to mosque, because nobody’s perfect. Everybody makes mistakes, and we have to ask Allah to forgive us. This is very important mentally, to be clear with Allah. This is not about the UFC. There is nothing else more important to me than being clear with Allah. And being clear with Allah is the No. 1 most hard thing in life,” he said.
Many people, especially in a time where Islam has a negative connotation, admire and respect him for his love for his religion.
Furthermore he wears his culture like a crown, for everyone to see. When he enters the cage, he’s always wearing a papahka. It’s a blond holds special meaning for the Dagestan native; the papakha honours Khabib’s Avar culture, represents strength and is worn by his mountain clan heritage.
“I feel I represent my country. Not only my country, but all former USSR countries, because I have very big fanbase here and I have more than a billion Muslim fans,” Khabib told the Guardian. “I feel I represent these guys all around the world. My fans. This gives me very good energy. When I go to the cage I think about these people.”
Khabib is just strong strong as his faith, having never lost a fight in his career, he holds the longest undefeated streak in MMA.