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Top 5 Facts About the McGregor/Nurmagomedov Feud

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Dave MacIntyre

It was a fight for the ages, and one full of bad blood that finally reached its boiling point. From their confrontation before UFC 205 to now, these former Twitter friends have become sworn enemies in and out of the Octagon. WatchMojo counts down the top 5 facts about the feud between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov.


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Script written by Dave MacIntyre

Top 5 Facts About the McGregor/Nurmagomedov Feud

It was a fight for the ages, and one full of bad blood that finally reached its boiling point. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 5 Facts About the McGregor/Nurmagomedov Feud.

For this list, we’ll be counting down the biggest contributing factors that led to Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov’s rivalry – and eventually their historic fight – at UFC 229.

#5: They Were Twitter Friends At First

Things weren’t always so bad between these UFC juggernauts. Back in September 2014, McGregor was about to fight Dustin Poirier for the featherweight title at UFC 178. Prior to the event, McGregor and Nurmagomedov had a fairly light-hearted exchange over Twitter, where the Irishman – who was about to fly to Las Vegas the following day – offered to train with the Russian while both were in Sin City. After the fight, both McGregor and Nurmagomedov snapped a picture of themselves smiling next to each other. It’s an unfortunate reminder of how friendly things used to be between the two fighters.

#4: The UFC 205 Controversy

If there was a turning point for Conor and Khabib’s relationship to go sour, this is probably it. Despite Khabib Nurmagomedov being in talks to fight Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, that honour would instead go to McGregor, who defeated Alvarez after two rounds to win the lightweight title. Nurmagomedov would still be on the card that night with his defeat of Michael Johnson, but wasted little time ripping on McGregor in his post-fight interview. Calling McGregor a “chicken” for tapping out against Nate Diaz earlier that year, Nurmagomedov made clear how much he wanted to fight him. This is in addition to an altercation prior to the UFC 205 weigh-in where Nurmagomedov threatened to smash McGregor’s face.

#3: Conor Calls Khabib’s Manager a Terrorist

There’s trash-talking, and then there’s this. During the pre-fight press conference for UFC 229 in New York, McGregor made a point of mentioning Nurmagomedov’s ties to a Chechen dictator and a Russian oligarch, having previously fired shots at both Nurmagomedov’s father and fellow Russian mixed martial artist Zubaira Tukhugov on Instagram. Most notoriously, however, the outspoken Irishman went so far as to call Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz an “informant”, a “snitch” and a “terrorist rat.” Claiming Abdelaziz was removed from a flight from Cairo to New York on 9/11 with five passports on him, this is one moment where the rivalry between the two fighters went well beyond sports.

#2: Nurmagomedov Slaps Lobov

In the days leading up to UFC 223 in April 2018, Nurmagomedov had an altercation with fellow mixed martial artist Artem Lobov – a friend and training partner of McGregor’s – in which Nurmagomedov allegedly slapped his Russian compatriot over comments Lobov made about him. McGregor flew to New York several days after hearing about the scuffle. Once there, he’d get his revenge by going to the UFC 223 media day in Brooklyn, and throwing a dolly through the window of the bus carrying Nurmagomedov and several other fighters. This incident would not only further sow the seeds for their eventual grudge match, but would result in McGregor being sentenced to community service following a plea deal.

#1: The Brawl After the Fight

With a long-awaited return to the Octagon for Conor McGregor, UFC 229 – and its McGregor-Nurmagomedov headline fight – had the sports world glued to the TV screen. It took four rounds and just over three minutes for Nurmagomedov to win via submission, but it’s what happened immediately after that has people talking. Despite winning, chaos ensued as Nurmagomedov jumped out of the cage to attack members of McGregor’s team, while McGregor himself would be attacked by members of Nurmagomedov’s crew. Though neither fighter was seriously injured in the melee, Nurmagomedov could be hit with massive fines or suspensions, and possibly get his title stripped. That said, McGregor has already tweeted his desire for a rematch – and we’re here for that.

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