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07th Apr 2018

Khabib Nurmagomedov drops all bravado to send Conor McGregor a genuinely heartfelt message

Patrick McCarry

The lightweight title contender is not the only one concerned about Conor McGregor’s well-being.

Sometimes the men and women of the UFC get so blown away by the hype and trash talking that they forget why they got involved in Mixed Martial Arts in the first place.

Conor McGregor may have made a name for himself by talking the talk then backing it up in the Octagon, but ‘The Notorious’ appears to have gotten lost down that rabbit-hole. Thursday’s incident at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center – a bus attacked that was carrying UFC fighters and employees – was the Dubliner’s lowest ebb.

On Friday, he appeared in a Brooklyn court and was ordered to return to face charges on June 14. All the front and testosterone of the previous day had long since ebbed away.

Considering the depths often plumbed on promotional tour for the Floyd Mayweather boxing match, being ejected from his seat at UFC Gdansk and storming the cage at a Bellator event in Dublin [all in the past year] that is some going.

McGregor’s descent has many concerned and the target of his Barclays Center (sic) ambush is one of them. McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov have a healthy respect for each other as competitors but a lot of bad water appears to have sluiced since this picture of the pair was taken five years ago.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack on the bus he was travelling on, Nurmagomedov called out McGregor: “Send me a location. I’m going to come. Wherever you want. Ireland, New York, Brooklyn or Moscow. It doesn’t matter. Tell me where!”

A similar message was conveyed at the beginning of the final UFC 223 press conference, on Friday, before the Dagestani cut the bullshit, cut the bravado and pretence, and spoke very honestly about McGregor and his current struggles.

Asked if he had a message for McGregor, Nurmagomedov said:”To be honest, I hope he is going to fix his problems.

“And me and him will have to fix our problem. Inside the cage or outside, it doesn’t matter. We have to fix this. Thank you.”

With that, he placed his microphone back on the table and shook his head. As bemused as the rest of us.

‘The Eagle’ also stated that it was his wish to one day be able to face McGregor in the Octagon and settle their differences man to man.

The 29-year-old may find it hard getting cleared to fight in America over the coming months but a trip to Russia may not be beyond the realms of possibility.

Everyone involved will have to take a long, hard look at themselves before we ever get to this stage. It has been a wretched week for McGregor but the UFC has hardly covered itself in glory either.