Khabib and McGregor.

Dana White posts footage of intense face-off between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov

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Perhaps the fight games ultimate exponent of trash talk was back doing what he arguably does best, as the build up for one the most anticipated UFC match-ups of all time cranked up a notch at Radio City Music Hall in New York yesterday.

Conor McGregor showed that he had lost none of his verbal gifts at their promotional press conference as he launched a series of derogatory remarks in the direction of his upcoming opponent, current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The Irishman, simultaneously promoting and liberally swigging from his own brand of whiskey, was in fiery form as he attempted to get inside the head of the Russian native, who mostly sat silent and expressionless as the insults flew. 

Nothing was off limits for the Notorious, who as usual, came bedecked in a finely tailored suit, as he questioned everything from the champion's character, ability, family and heritage.

As no fans were allowed into the auditorium for fear of fighting breaking out between rival supporters, the atmosphere felt strangely subdued despite McGregor's valiant efforts to inject some trademark humour and intensity into the occasion.

The highlight of the event was, as is often the case, the ritual coming together of the combatants at the conclusion of proceedings, and as McGregor aggressively squared up to Khabib, UFC promoter Dana White appeared suddenly anxious that things could quickly get out of hand.

He pleaded with the former champ not to touch Khabib as the tension palpably rose on stage, and as McGregor mouthed off to the stony faced Russian, his words, indecipherable at first, were later revealed to be a succinct and chilling threat.

"You’re dead, mate. You’re dead. You’re dead.

"I can see blue lips. Blue lips. Where’s my belts? Blue lips. Breathe, kid. Take a breath."

Absent from the UFC arena for almost two years, the Notorious certainly looked like a man hungry to reclaim the belt he controversially never defended as he instead concentrated on his lucrative foray into boxing and a much hyped bout with Floyd Mayweather.

The Irishman showed all the brash confidence of old, but showed no signs of intimidating a man who may provide one of his biggest challenges in the Octagon.

Conor McGregor
Dana White
Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov
Conor McGregor

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