Who Will Win Khabib vs Conor Mcgregor Fight?
Rumors about the fight between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov started a while ago after Khabib dominated top-level lightweight Edson Barboza in UFC 219’s co-main event. Khabib Nurmagomedov made it clear that he wants to lock horns with UFC Interim Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson or UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor in his next outing.
Never shy about voicing his opinion, McGregor stated on Twitter (and in more words) that Nurmagomedov’s one-sided victory over Barboza was unimpressive; Khabib fired back in response, and just like that, fan anticipation for what would be the biggest lightweight title fight in UFC history reached a fever pitch.
Since then, Tony Ferguson got injured and withdraw from the title fight against Khabib. “The Eagle” became a Lightweight Champion after he demolished Al Iaquinta in the main event of UFC 223 (by the way Khabib’s stand-up was pretty impressive in that fight).
An abundance of MMA hardcores support Nurmagomedov in a potential meeting against McGregor and believe that he will preserve his undefeated professional record 26-0, while many other followers of the sport think McGregor’s vicious striking and distance awareness will be too much for the Dagestani grappler. The bout’s occurrence is all but assured, but its result remains to be seen.
Let’s take a look at what fans can expect from an upcoming fight between the current Lightweight UFC Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and ex-champion Conor McGregor; what strengths and weaknesses each athlete will bring to the contest and who has the most chances of winning this super fight.
Conor McGregor: MMA’s Best Striker
Although he’s most commonly known for his entertaining trash talk and flashy outfits, Conor McGregor is arguably the best striker not only in the lightweight division but in all of MMA. Bluntly stated, his credentials and accomplishments make it hard not to classify him as a once-in-a-lifetime stand-up competitor.
To be sure, he was the first man to defeat all-time great Jose Aldo in over a decade (and he did so via thirteen-second knockout), he finished perennial contender Dustin Poirier in the opening round, he topped former UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez with strikes, and he earned a win over the current UFC Featherweight Champion, Max Holloway, with a torn ACL. These MMA triumphs are in addition to his outstanding performance against one of the greatest boxers in history, Floyd Mayweather Jr., during which he (McGregor) landed thirty more punches than Manny Pacquiao (another all-time-great boxer) was able to.
Conor McGregor hasn’t shied away from any challenge, in both the cage and the ring, and he’s been so successful because he’s such a magnificent competitor. He’s able to cut angles and throw unexpected strikes that other martial artists, even other UFC champions cannot. Khabib will need to be on the lookout for inconspicuous strikes as he tries to grapple – especially because he is susceptible to hard punches, as we saw in his bout against Michael Johnson.
With that said, the one weakness (or something close to being a weakness) McGregor has shown inside the cage also happens to be Nurmagomedov’s bread and butter: grappling. Chad Mendes was able to power McGregor to the canvas at UFC 189, and the Dublin-born martial artist’s sole UFC loss came via rear-naked choke submission, against BJJ black belt Nate Diaz.
The stark contrast in style between Conor and Khabib further adds to their clash’s excitement and intrigue.
Khabib Nurmagomedov: Grappling Extraordinaire
In the UFC’s (and MMA’s) early days, fighters that specialized in one aspect of the sport – be it striking, wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or another discipline, were able to dominate opponents by playing to their strength. Twenty or so years later, as MMA’s general level of competition has increased tenfold, fighters who compete at the highest level are skillful and well-versed in every area of fighting. This is true of Khabib Nurmagomedov, but one wouldn’t know it from watching his UFC matches; he’s dominated all his opponents almost exclusively with his grappling and ground fighting techniques.
At twenty-nine years of age, Nurmagomedov has competed in MMA for over a decade. He’s been signed to the UFC since 2012, and along the way, he’s clashed with all-around solid fighters (Gleison Tibau, Pat Healy, and Rafael dos Anjos), vicious strikers (Abel Trujilo and Michael Johnson), and submission specialists (especially Edson Barboza).
In Russia, Ukraine, Las Vegas, and Brazil alike, Nurmagomedov has fought every conceivable type of fighter. The only thing he hasn’t done as a professional martial artist is lost. Khabib has won 26 professional MMA fights (10-0 UFC record) and has yet to fall to an opponent; he also has yet to drop a single round in the UFC (36 rounds in UFC)! Each of his opponents, despite knowing what to expect, has been unable to stop his takedowns and relentless onslaught of strikes.
Khabib has a 10-0 UFC record, 36 rounds in UFC and never lost a round.
Who Will Win?
Picking a winner between such formidable martial artists as Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov isn’t an easy task; both men possess the skills required to best the other, and both possess an obvious path to victory.
For McGregor, this path to victory involves striking from the outside and timing punches to catch Khabib when he shoots in for takedowns. For Nurmagomedov, this path to victory involves bringing McGregor to the mat without being stuck with some of the most precise punches in the sport.
Any fan who counts either athlete out is greatly underestimating his abilities; both men once again have the potential to win. However, counting Nurmagomedov out is perhaps the greater mistake, for McGregor has been taken down in the past, and he (Khabib) is relentlessly smothering from the top position. In this way, his winning the bout isn’t a longshot – it’s a distinct possibility. If you still think Khabib has no chance of beating Conor, listen to this: according to the bookmakers, Khabib is a big favorite to win the upcoming fight against “The Notorious”.
Khabib vs McGregor Predictions: 5 Ways the Fight Can Realistically Play-Out
To help anyone who’s not sure what to expect from McGregor-Nurmagomedov bout, and to further stoke excitement for the event, let’s take a look at five possible ways the fight on October 6 can play-out. What are some realistic scenarios and predictions for Khabib vs McGregor?
- 1. McGregor Wins via the First-Round Knockout.
We all know Conor McGregor packs some power in his punches.
The Champ-Champ put his vicious speed, precision, and force on display when he famously knocked Jose Aldo out in the opening thirteen seconds of their title meeting. He beat the similarly durable Dustin Poirier, Chad Mendes, and Eddie Alvarez with his punches, and he stumbled the iron-chinned Nate Diaz in both of their two contests. Plus, many remember the uppercut he stung all-time-great Floyd Mayweather Jr. with during their boxing match.
Thus, it’s a distinct possibility that Conor focuses his world-class training on catching Nurmagomedov cleanly and early and that this practice translates into a first-round KO win for McGregor. The finishing blows will have to be carefully placed so as to clip Khabib when he moves inward for a takedown; perhaps an uppercut-hook combination is most suitable for the task.
- 2. Khabib Wins via the First-Round Submission.
Nurmagomedov has rag-dolled just about every fighter he’s faced inside the Octagon, and furthermore, he overwhelms his opponents with strikes and submission attempts once he’s on the canvas. In fact, the Dagestani is so dominant that nobody has yet been able to beat him, despite it being common knowledge that he’ll look for takedowns.
With these points in mind, it isn’t tough to foresee a scenario wherein Khabib takes McGregor down and locks-in a submission in the opening frame. McGregor has been taken down in the past (most notably by Chad Mendes) and it must be emphasized that fighters, generally speaking, are unable to return to their feet when “The Eagle” is working his magic from the top position.
Additionally, McGregor is susceptible to the submission. Nate Diaz beat him via rear-naked choke in their first match and Khabib is an expert at making his opponents tap. If it comes to fruition, this outcome will probably be the result of a well-timed rear-naked choke, which Khabib will secure as Conor turns his back and tries to stand.
- 3. Nurmagomedov Wins via Unanimous Decision.
Khabib has the gas tank that’s needed to fight for twenty-five whole minutes, and Conor McGregor has had some cardio issues in the past. It’s true that these cardio” issues” came against one Nate Diaz, who’s an accomplished triathlete, but Nurmagomedov’s endurance is similarly excellent.
Accordingly, it’s possible that Nurmagomedov will take McGregor down early and often, and that the ultra-tough Irishman will withstand this ground offense but lose on the judges’ scorecards. Moreover, it’s even more likely that McGregor will win the opening two frames (or perhaps the first round and one of the later stanzas, as he often rallies in title fights) and come up short in the other periods, owing to Khabib’s formidable cardio and the immense energy consumed by Conor’s high-output offense.
- 4. McGregor Wins via Unanimous Decision.
For Conor McGregor, the path to a unanimous-decision victory over Khabib isn’t as unlikely as it may initially seem.
Now that he’s fought Floyd Mayweather Jr., McGregor has more cash in the bank than ever before. He’s always trained intelligently, and he currently possesses the resources required to optimize his preparation and, in turn, improve every aspect of his game including his stand-up, grappling, and yes, his cardio.
McGregor can sting Nurmagomedov early and run away with the contest from there; we know Nurmagomedov is tough, but we’ve never seen him compete against a striker of McGregor’s caliber, nor have we seen how he responds to true adversity. Conor could also win three of the five rounds with his punches while giving up two periods wherein he’s taken down; in other words, he can stifle the Russian’s offense until he (Nurmagomedov) takes the fight to the ground.
- 5. Someone Wins via Split Decision.
This is the outcome that UFC fans will enjoy and appreciate the most.
If Khabib vs McGregor goes to a split decision after 25 minutes of combat, we know for certain that they’ll have left it all in the cage; it’s widely understood that they both possess an unparalleled heart, but sometimes two fantastic fighters push one another to new levels of greatness.
McGregor and Nurmagomedov, being so dominant, aren’t used to having to dig deep and trudge forward against adversity. But as we saw in the McGregor vs Diaz fights, determination, heart, and skill are the ingredients in the recipe for legendary action.
In this outcome (split-decision) Nurmagomedov will find success with his takedowns and his punches on the canvas; he’ll look for submissions, but he won’t quite be able to finish them, only because Conor will refuse to be tapped. McGregor will constantly find ways to thwart takedowns attempts and return to his feet if he is taken down. While they’re striking, Conor will land the hardest punches Khabib has felt during his Octagon career.
In this outcome, both athletes will go toe-to-toe, to the benefit of the fans and fellow fighters. As the judges’ scorecards are read, there’ll be numerous predictions and disagreements pertaining to the winner and the scoring.
In conclusion, this outcome would be pretty sweet, and it would almost definitely pave the way for an eventual rematch or another big fight, for example, a winner of Khabib/McGregor vs Georges St-Pierre.
Regardless of whether Khabib or Conor wins, fans can rest assured that they’re in for a fantastic and entertaining fight. It’s going to be a fight that will once again be the biggest LW title match in UFC history, and potentially, the biggest and most profitable fight in promotional history.
McGregor has an entire country (Ireland) behind him, Nurmagomedov has an entire country (Russia) behind him, and viewers from these nations will be accompanied by millions of others from around the globe; such is the reach of the involved athletes, both because of their fighting skills and their promotional skills.
Thanks for reading, you are always welcome to share your predictions about Khabib vs Conor McGregor matchup in the comments below.