This may be hard for some readers to believe, but there was once a time when Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor were very cordial, perhaps even friendly. Here’s a widely circulated shot of the two backstage following Conor McGregor’s victory over Dustin Poirier at UFC 178.
The two also exchanged pleasantries via social media many years ago. The tension between them began to grow as it became clear that they were potentially on a collision course. They then nearly came to blows backstage at UFC 205, an event that saw Conor McGregor capture the lightweight championship after Khabib challenged him to a fight after smashing Michael Johnson. And this tension would shift into a full-on explosion during the build-up and aftermath to the only contest between the two at UFC 229.
There was no touch of gloves before or after the bout between Khabib and Conor McGregor, and the animosity has only seemed to grow after the fight and post-fight brawl, with the two now regularly exchanging unpleasantries via social media in the months following the event. And at times, the exchanges have been extremely personal in nature.
At a recent press conference in Moscow, Khabib was asked if there could come a time when he and McGregor put the past behind them and if Khabib would ever shake McGregor’s hand. Khabib did not rule out the possibility.
“Everything is possible in this life,” Khabib said. “Never say never. Some people try to kill each other and then make peace. They may not forgive their foe deep inside but still have a truce with him.”
If the two were to cross paths in the near future, Khabib does not believe it would turn physical between the two, partly because McGregor has enough on his plate to worry about at the moment.
“I’m not expecting provocation from Conor, as he will need to focus on his fight.”
Conor McGregor will be facing Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on January 23. Who knows, maybe another win over Dustin Poirier will bring the two old pals together again as it did backstage at UFC 178! Well, then again, I wouldn’t bet on it…
What are your thoughts on Khabib’s comments about potentially making peace with Conor McGregor down the line?