In a candid Instagram post, Irish MMA fighter Conor McGregor has reflected on his recent UFC encounter with Russia's Khabib Nurmagomedov and provided insight into his plans for the future.
The 30-year-old Irish superstar vowed to come back stronger and didn't rule out that getting a rematch could take a while. "It was a great fight and it was my pleasure. I will be back with my confidence high. Fully prepared. If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line."
The much-anticipated UFC 229 lightweight championship bout ended in the fourth round, with Conor succumbing to a Khabib neck crank that was finished with a rear-naked choke. The Irishman, himself a former UFC lightweight champion, said that he won the first round "from a fight standpoint," while also admitting that Khabib won the first two rounds "from a sport standpoint" with his defensive tactics.
He described the second round as the worst round of his fighting career. It was Khabib's deadly right hook, Conor said, that provided the pivotal moment in the fight. The Notorious conceded that he could have paid more attention to Khabib's upright fighting in preparation, so as not to end up being "beaten fair and square" in round four.
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Thoughts on my last fight. Round 1. I believe from a sport standpoint, round 1 was his. Top position against the fence. Zero position advancement or damage inflicted. But top position. From a fight standpoint the first round is mine. Actual shots landed and a willingness to engage. Straight left early. Knee to the head on the low shot. Elbows in any and all tie up scenarios. Opponent just holding the legs against the fence for almost the entire round. Round 2 he is running away around the cage before being blessed with a right hand that changed the course of the round, and the fight. It was a nice shot. After the shot I bounced back up to engage instantly, but again he dipped under to disengage. That is the sport and it was a smart move that led to a dominant round, so no issue. Well played. If I stay switched on and give his stand up even a little more respect, that right hand never gets close and we are talking completely different now. I gave his upright fighting no respect in preparation. No specific stand up spars whatsoever. Attacking grapplers/wrestlers only. That won’t happen again. I also gave my attacking grappling no respect. To defense minded. Lessons. Listen to nobody but yourself on your skill set. You are the master of your own universe. I am the master of this. I must take my own advice. Round 3. After the worst round of my fighting career, I come back and win this round. Again walking forward, walking him down, and willing to engage. Round 4. My recovery was not where it could have been here. That is my fault. Although winning the early exchanges in 4, he dips under again and I end up in a bad position with over 3 on the clock. I work to regain position and end up upright, with my back to the fence. A stable position. Here however, I made a critical error of abandoning my over hook at this crucial time, exposing the back, and I end up beaten fair and square. What can I say? It was a great fight and it was my pleasure. I will be back with my confidence high. Fully prepared. If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line. It’s all me always, anyway. See you soon my fighting fans I love you all ❤
McGregor's assessment of his own performance, however, was met with criticism by some MMA fans online.
Its only buisness looool!! He got smashed!! Khabib choked him abit too hard, Conor gone delusional ahahhahahah— . (@_PeakyShelby) 23 октября 2018 г.
That was a very nice analytical view on the fight, but I must've watched one entirely different. I just saw you get mauled the whole time 🤷🏻♂️— jorge and 306 others (@DoUevenIiftBro) 23 октября 2018 г.
Sounded like plenty of excuses, frankly. Including (but not limited to) saying that Khabib was "blessed" to land the right hand.— MMA Logic (@LogicalMMA) 23 октября 2018 г.
Good read but the only issue with this is that theres zero mention of you cheating like 15 times lol— Iso (@Godzillaman99) 23 октября 2018 г.
The Irishman's comments came days after UFC President Dana White opened up on prospects for a Conor-Khabib rematch. "I haven't even thought about a rematch," he told ESPN. "Obviously, I know Conor wants a rematch. We need to do what's right and what's fair. We'll see how it plays out. We literally haven't thought about it yet."
Hours after the fight with Khabib on October 7, Conor dropped a hint that his saga with the Russian grappler may not be over yet, while not specifying the date of the rematch.
Good knock. Looking forward to the rematch.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) 7 октября 2018 г.
However, the Russian MMA ace seems to have switched his attention to another decorated athlete. Less than two weeks after beating McGregor, Nurmagomedov called out the American boxing star Floyd Mayweather, 41, who retired from sports in 2017 after beating The Notorious. "Come on, Floyd! I am ready to go out with you to fight, 50-0 vs. 27-0," he said, referring to Floyd's 50-0 unbeaten run and his own 27-0 streak. "Two guys who never lost. Why not? Come on! In the jungle, there can be only one king, and that is me."
Floyd has agreed to a match-up with Khabib: "Oh, we fighting. He called me out. So, he gotta come to my world. I'm my own boss. So, I can't say what's going on on Khabib's end. But, on my end, we can make it happen."
Khabib is the first Russian to be crowned UFC champion. He claimed the lightweight title when he defeated Al Iaquinta on April 8.