However, two years before the fight was even announced, it turns that Khabib was extremely confident in beating the Irishman anyway.
In an interview, Khabib claimed that if McGregor was to make the step up to lightweight, he would “in four minutes, smash him."
Obviously, as we know, Nurmagomedov dominated the fight and handed McGregor his second UFC defeat at the time.
But should McGregor have been more wary of his opponent considering the previous interview?
"If he comes to 155lbs, in four minutes I smash him. His striking, I like, I think he can beat Jose Aldo but if he comes to fight at 155lbs? Welcome."
That respect didn’t seem to be shared though when during a UFC media day in April 2018, McGregor and members of his crew stormed into the Barclays Centre and attacked a bus carrying Nurmagomedov and other fighters who were on the card.
McGregor was arrested and ordered to do five days of community service which, understandably, increased the eagerness to witness this fight.
During the press conference, on September 20, McGregor was more focused on his new brand of whiskey ‘Proper Twelve’ and less focused on his opponent with an unbeaten record.
His attempts at getting in Khabib’s head were desperate and unsuccessful. Could this have shown that McGregor’s head wasn’t really in the fight?
The Russian fighter took a cool and calm approach in the press conference. He was confident in his own abilities and didn’t see any need to get up into the Irishman’s face.
In the end, the calm approach prevailed as Khabib forced McGregor to tap out in round 4. His complete domination was proven through stats like 82% of his significant head strikes landing and McGregor being unable to deal with him on the ground was another major factor.
Conor McGregor didn’t look up to the task and Khabib Nurmagomedov showed the world that he wasn’t going to give up his unbeaten record anytime soon.
However, one of the most impressive parts will still be that Khabib predicted most of this two years before the fight in an interview.