In truth, the Eagle was rarely tested in the fight, even coming out on top in most of the stand-up exchanges, where many felt McGregor would have the advantage.
To add further insult, a viral video currently doing the internet rounds shows the undefeated Dagestani in conversation with referee Herb Dean. In the video, Khabib asks Dean how much money he was being paid and if he was well compensated for allowing McGregor to cheat.
In light of the clip’s recent resurfacing, we decided to take a look at the incidents Nurmagomedov is referring to, with the help of YouTube channel AntiParadox.
Was Conor really cheating? Find out for yourself.
A quick viewing of the video is all you need to ascertain that the Irishman was – at the very least – bending the rules a little, and that fight referee Herb Dean was – at best – guilty of leniency.
During the first round, when Khabib was trying to advance on the ground, you can see that McGregor clearly grabs hold of his opponent’s shorts to halt the progress. Sure, it may not have been an illegal kick to the groin, but a foul is foul. Referee Herb Dean did reprimand McGregor for the illegal action… but only after Khabib pointed it out to him.
Later in the first, McGregor can be seen landing illegal blows to the back of Khabib’s head from the bottom position. Because the Irishman was flat on his back trying to stop Khabib from advancing, the punches weren’t landing with any real force and had no bearing on the fight whatsoever. But Dean could easily have deducted a point for the illegal blows. You can not punch the back of the head in the UFC (as McGregor surely knows).
Late in the second round, again Khabib was attempting to advance a ground position (this time from the side) when he was clattered in the temple by a stray McGregor knee from the bottom. UFC rules clearly state that you cannot knee a grounded opponent – even if said opponent is smothering the life out of you – and McGregor was lucky not to have a point deducted for the action.
Not long after the illegal knee from the bottom, with Khabib still trying to advance his position on the ground, McGregor can be seen digging his toes into the Octagon mesh for leverage, another illegal move. Herb Dean does in fact warn McGregor to remove his toes from the cage, but then continues to stand idly by whilst McGregor digs them in for a further 20 seconds or so.
In the third round, which was probably the only round McGregor fans would tell you he did well in, again the Irishman can be seen on tape committing fouls. He grabs Khabib by the shorts to pull him in for a knee, and later can be seen clinging on to the Eagle’s gloves. Both illegal moves and, at this point, you do have to begin to ask yourself why referee Herb Dean seemed so reluctant to deduct a point?
During the final ground exchanges of the fourth and final round, again McGregor can be seen to cling onto the cage with both his toes and his fingers to avoid the original takedown. And for good reason, he was submitted via a choke just moments later.
There is no doubting the fact that referee Herb Dean was soft on McGregor. In the grand scheme of things, however, none of the fouls committed really eventuated into anything positive for the Irishman, who succeeded only in delaying the inevitable for the most part, as Khabib secured a relatively straightforward victory regardless.
No harm done… but the Eagle was right to poke fun at Herb Dean when they came face-to-face.
“Were you compensated well, Herb?”
Khabib Nurmagomedov recently retired from the sport of MMA, but many fans believe he will make a return if the right offer comes his way.
One thing is for sure, though, the right offer won’t be McGregor; not until the Irishman is able to regain some semblance of form inside the Octagon.