Daniel Cormier pays Conor McGregor compliment but is sure he'd lose to Khabib again 2 years ago

Daniel Cormier pays Conor McGregor compliment but is sure he'd lose to Khabib again

McGregor lost at UFC 229, but he didn't get lost in the sauce

Daniel Cormier admits he was very impressed by the wrestling and grappling of Conor McGregor in the UFC 229 main event against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

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McGregor stuffed three take-down attempts from the lightweight champion, handled himself well on the mat in the first round and managed to get back to his feet after eating some big shots in the second. The Dubliner won the third round and must have fancied his chances heading into the fourth only to get taken down, give up his back and submit to a neck crank.

Cormier, the light heavyweight and heavyweight champion, trains with Nurmagomedov at the American Kickboxing Academy. He told Luke Thomas on The MMA Hour about how well McGregor did against 'The Eagle'.

He said: "Honestly man, that first takedown, I was like wow, Conor really made him work for this takedown.

"Because this is what we say at AKA - we try to get you lost in the sauce. We want to get you lost in the sauce, right? Like, when we’re on a leg, we want to give you one [takedown attempt]; okay, you’ll defend. Two, you’ll defend; three, then you start going, ‘okay, wait a minute,’ then you start to get lost.

"You get lost in all the different transitions, from to move to move to move, and eventually we get you down. And once we get you down, obviously it’s very difficult to get back up.

"Conor didn’t get lost in it. Like, Khabib had to go to level four to get that first takedown. He went high crotch, he went crackdown, he went ‘try to get the angle,’ he tried to run the pipe, then he actually had to go to his knees, look across the back to get to a double just to get Conor down the first time. Conor didn’t get lost."

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As positive as that is, it is for the same reason that Cormier does not fancy McGregor's chances in a rematch.

"He really did a good job," said Cormier, "and that’s why if you’re Team McGregor, there’s cause for concern because I don’t know if he could do that any better and he still got beat in the way that he got beat.

"That’s why, I think if you’re Team McGregor, you’d be concerned about a fight with Nurmagomedov, because I don’t think he could defend any better.

"I thought was as good as [he could], because he did a good job and I don’t know if he could do it any better… because then Khabib is going to go to level five, and he going to go to level six, and he’s going to just keep putting different things behind each other until eventually you kinda can’t keep up."

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John Kavanagh, McGregor's coach, believes 'The Notorious' needs months on intense, "old-school" training if he is to seriously consider toppling Nurmagomedov.

As much as McGregor improves, however, one would not be surprised to see the Dagestani go to levels five or six.