After their recent lightweight title bout, Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and ‘Notorious’ former lightweight and flyweight champion Conor McGregor have left the sport shrouded in controversy.
While their bout unquestionably made headlines, the contest will be remembered more for the ugly scenes before and afterwards than it will for the in-ring action that culminated in Khabib’s fourth-round submission victory.
McGregor ramped up the heat between the two fighters when he threw a steel dolly through the window of Dagestani Nurmagomedov’s team bus in April, injuring several of the occupants.
In their title match at UFC 229, undefeated Khabib capped a dominant performance with his 27th straight professional victory by way of a rear neck crank.
The match was followed with despicable scenes, when the champion scaled the cage to go outside and attack Dillon Danis, a Bellator welterweight who trains with Irishman McGregor, in the crowd. This was followed with even more bizarre scenes as a member of Khabib’s entourage climbed into the octagon to punch McGregor.
It remains to be seen what the repercussions will be for the champion and his followers, but it seems apparent that their actions will have been provoked by remarks by the Irishman in the build-up to the contest. He called Khabib’s father a "quivering coward" and his manager Ali Abdelaziz a "terrorist snitch".
In the wake of their fight, Nurmagomedov Sr, Abdulmanap, has now offered an olive branch to the defeated McGregor despite initially being angered by the remarks.
“Distinguished guests, I invite again to the tournament our close friend [actor and former UFC fighter] Oleg Taktarov and McGregor,” he told Russia Today.
“I said that I forgive him [for all the insults], it’s important to be kind-hearted!”
Whether these words will be endorsed by his son remains to be seen and the tension between the two fighters is unlikely to diminish, as McGregor has expressed he desire for a rematch.
However, with the Irishman, who last year took pound for pound great Floyd Mayweather to ten rounds in a cross-over boxing match, suffering such a humbling and decisive defeat, many will not be in a rush to see a repeat.
While it remains to be seen what the future holds for Conor, assuming that he avoids sanctions for his actions, the future looks bright for the dominant Dagestani.