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Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov
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UFC 229 will always stand out as the pivotal moment in the promotion’s history, notorious as one of the darkest events. The event drew a massive 2.4 million PPVs and attracted over 20,000 fans at the T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas. The main event fight featured a grudge match between the first UFC double division champion Conor McGregor and defending UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Although, it was just a title fight. The events leading up to the fight are well-documented and have piqued the interest of fans across the globe. However, many fans are still curious about the pre-feud relationship between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The rivalry between the Irishman and the Dagestani had heated up after an incident involving Artem Lobov. ‘The Eagle’ and his teammates had cornered and ambushed McGregor’s friend. This led to further escalation of the animosity between the camps. However, back when ‘The Notorious’ was in the featherweight division and Nurmagomedov was still a rising lightweight, the duo had a flourishing bond of friendship.

Khabib Nurmagomedov had posed alongside the Irishman back in 2014 when the Irishman defeated a surging Dustin Poirier at UFC 178. This was a sign of their comradery and the mutual respect they shared for each other.

What’s more, ‘The Eagle’ once even complimented McGregor’s apparel and expressed his desire to personally receive one of his shirts.

Surprisingly, ‘The Notorious’ willingly embraced the proposal and even suggested training with the formidable Dagestani upon his visit to Las Vegas. To which the Russian gracefully accepted.

This clearly indicates the bond the fighters shared before the beginning of their bitter rivalry. However, their paths were destined to collide as they were in pursuit of an unprecedented legacy. On one hand, the Irishman desired to become the first-ever UFC double division champion, on the other Nurmagomedov wished to become the first Dagestani to clench a UFC title.

How did the rivalry between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor begin?

UFC’s biggest superstar Conor McGregor was supposed to fight the veteran Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 196. However, Dos Anjos had to pull out of the fight due to a foot injury. After a curious turn of events, the UFC matchmakers set a welterweight bout with Nate Diaz for the surging Irishman.

McGregor lost against Diaz and had to go through the trenches in their rematch to avenge his loss. Meanwhile, Eddie Alvarez won the UFC lightweight title by defeating Dos Anjos who had returned from injury.

‘The Eagle’ believed he had earned a title shot against Alvarez ahead of other contenders, and his aspirations nearly materialized. Nevertheless, the nod ultimately went to the Irishman, sparking bitterness between the two fighters who had previously shared mutual respect. The aftermath, as they say, is now etched in history.


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