03:27 GMT04 April 2020
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    In an aftershock of his feud with Russia’s Khabib Nurmagomedov, former UFC champion McGregor defended the right of women to compete in MMA. Coincidentally or not, the remarks came on International Women’s Day.

    Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor has lashed out at fellow lightweight fighter Islam Makhachev for his remarks about women’s UFC 248 event.

    On Saturday, Weili Zhang of China defended her strawweight title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk of Poland in what many observers and fans called one of the greatest women’s MMA fights of all time.

    Jedrzejczyk, the former strawweight champion, was hospitalised after Zhang damaged her face so badly she was almost unrecognisable.

    However, Islam Makhachev, a combat sambo world champ and UFC lightweight, was not impressed. “This is not a woman’s sport,” he wrote alongside a face palm emoji in a now-deleted tweet following Zhang’s victory.

    The tweet has stoked a backlash among some MMA fans, and McGregor weighed in later in the day. “An absolute cretin,” he replied, calling Makhachev a “convicted steroid cheat”.

    Makhachev tested positive for the banned substance meldonium in 2016, but was found not at fault by the US anti-doping watchdog.

    An investigation found that Makhachev took meldonium to prevent a potential relapse of abnormal heartbeats but stopped its use before 1 Jan. 2016, the day it was officially banned by WADA.

    “These little gremlins!” Conor added. “It’s back on. Filthy rats. Shame on the game.”

    Makhachev, from Russia, is a friend and teammate of Khabib Nurmagomedov, the long-time nemesis of Conor’s.

    Khabib, who holds the longest active undefeated streak in MMA, has developed a deeply antagonistic relationship with Conor in the build-up to their fight for the lightweight title in October 2018.

    Khabib’s dominant fourth-round win that night was followed by an ugly brawl between their camps, which resulted in hefty fines and suspensions for both fighters.

    The Russian grappler has since extended his unbeaten run to 28 with a victory over Dustin Poirier last September, while Conor announced a short-lived retirement and came back to the Octagon in January to beat Donald Cerrone.

    Tags:
    MMA, UFC, Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov
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