How much of a threat is Khabib to Conor McGregor?
Cian Carroll | 14 August 2018
UFC legacies are on the line
The MMA fight the world has been waiting for has been confirmed for 6th October in Las Vegas at UFC 229.
Conor McGregor will make his return to the Octagon to take on the feared Khabib Nurmagomedov for the Lightweight title.
Never one for shirking big fights, McGregor couldn’t have picked a worse opponent after more than two years’ absence. And the Coral traders agree, making the Irishman 11/8 outsider, with the Russian 3/5 favourite.
The Coral News Team looks at the reasons why Khabib is his most dangerous match-up.
One of the reasons why Khabib has become so feared in the UFC over the last number of years is his wrestling skills.
The Russian’s ability to take opponents the ground, hold them there, and pulverise them into stoppage wins is frightening.
The 29-year-old is an animal when it comes to the ground game. And that’s arguably McGregor’s biggest weak point.
Gas tank issues
Another sticking point is the Crumlin man’s ability to stay the pace of five championship rounds. He’s only managed it once in the Nate Diaz rematch (in which he won) – but he was out on his feet by the end.
In the original Diaz bout, McGregor notoriously gassed in the second round, gave up his back and the fight was done.
He’ll likely have to go to the well and then some once again against the judo black belt. He’ll also need to be intensely wary of Nurmagomedov’s takedowns. If he shoots for one, McGregor will need to be on his game to avoid getting plugged to the mat.
Eye of the tiger
Another big question for the Notorious is does he still retain the hunger of old?
After two years away, with a reported £100m payday from the Floyd Mayweather fight, there could be a bit of the Rocky III about McGregor.
He’s achieved a lot since his 2013 debut, including becoming the first champion in two weight classes simultaneously. Despite being the reigning champion, Nurmagomedov knows a win against McGregor will be a legacy maker.
It’s set up for an all-time classic.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing