Conor McGregor exchanges friendly words with "big fan" Sergey Kovalev
Initially it looked as though there was a tense stand-off taking place in New York City but the meeting of Conor McGregor and Sergey Kovalev ended with a friendly pat on the back.
Two of the pound-for-pound hardest hitters in their respective industries finally crossed paths on Friday night as London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Michael Conlan made his professional debut against Tim Ibarra.
While the action played out in the ring, former light heavyweight champion Kovalev approached 'The Notorious' for a ringside chinwag.
The proximity between the men led some to believe that there was some hostility on show but that was quickly proven untrue as they smiled and wished each other well before McGregor patted the Russian on the back.
McGregor vs Kovalev! pic.twitter.com/x65tj8Vo17
— Laceupboxing (@Laceupboxing) March 18, 2017
Kovalev revealed last year that he's a "big fan" of 'The Notorious', suggesting that he shared a similar fighting style to that of the Irishman.
"I’m a big fan of Conor McGregor," Kovalev told MMA Junkie last November. "I like his style for fighting. He’s aggressive, very exciting and a lot of fun to watch. I am always interested to see what he will bring in the fight.
"I see little bit of myself in Conor McGregor because he has ‘Krusher’ style, but he’s also a smart fighter."
Kovalev and McGregor are on a relatively similar fight schedule, with both having most recently fought last November.
And both could well fight next in June in the same venue as suggestions have been made that the T-Mobile Arena is on hold for June 10 for the much-discussed super-fight between McGregor and Floyd Mayweather.
It's also understood that Kovalev is training for a yet-to-be-confirmed rematch with Andre Ward, the first man to defeat him, and aiming for June 17 in Las Vegas.