Saturday, January 23, 2021

UFC 229: Final Thoughts On Khabib vs. McGregor

My final thoughts a few hours before UFC 229 gets underway

The fight we have all been waiting for has almost arrived and as the anticipation continues to rise to unprecedented levels, many fight fans are still going back and forth on their predictions.

Legacy is what’s at stake when Khabib and McGregor come face-to-face in the famous UFC Octagon. The build-up to this event, that has been touted as the biggest event in UFC history, has been nothing short of spectacular. The atmosphere that the fans of Ireland bring with them is incomparable, and the way in which Conor McGregor feeds off of his fellow countrymen is masterful. The one guarantee that this fight brings is the guarantee that the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas will be filled with the roars and screams of thousands of hopeful Irish supporters.

Every event that Conor McGregor is involved in brings a different vibe and certainly an increased media attention, but the hatred that these two warriors have for each other is clear for everyone to see, and it has forged a different aura around the fight. The animosity that these two men have towards each other goes beyond a mixed martial arts fight. McGregor has touched on the historical conflict between Dagestan and Chechnya, and a glimpse of this was witnessed when Khabib Nurmagomedov had a confrontation with Conor McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov that resulted in a physical altercation. This did not go unnoticed and Conor McGregor retaliated in a huge way by attacking a UFC fighter bus that carried Khabib Nurmagomedov on April 5th during UFC 223’s media day. This anger-fueled attack placed McGregor in hot water and he is still suffering for his senseless actions on April 5th.

From this day, a fight between Khabib and McGregor has been highly anticipated, and now we only have to wait a handful of hours to witness history.

Much has been said about the way in which this fight will end, but most fans, myself included, are incredibly indecisive when attempting to predict the outcome of this contest. The dominance that Khabib Nurmagomedov has shown in his MMA career has been so chilling and disciplined that he is now seen as the scariest fighter within the UFC’s ranks. The unbeaten Dagestani has won every round that he has competed in, and he has rarely faced adversity in his unbeaten MMA career, but the fact that Conor McGregor is willing to take a challenge that only a small number of fighters were willing to take, shows what kind of competitor The “Notorious” One is.

Conor McGregor has single-handedly taken the sport of mixed martial arts to a level that not many people thought was possible. He has captivated fans from all over the globe and he has delivered and stepped up to the plate 100% of the time. The devastating power that McGregor possesses in his left hand is so truly incredible that the head coach at Tristar Gym, Firas Zahabi has named it ‘The Touch of Death’. One thing is for sure, not many fighters can take clean hits from the Irishman, and there is a long list of fighters who have fallen to the straight left of the former featherweight and lightweight UFC Champion.

Whatever the outcome, both men should be praised heavily for their involvement in making such a captivating event. Fights like this will be immortalized in the history of not only mixed martial arts but combat sports in general and we are all incredibly lucky that we get to witness greatness.