It’s time! For promotion that is. On Thursday, the UFC hosted a closed-to-the-public press conference featuring UFC 229’s Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, and it was not to be missed.
The UFC’s biggest event of 2018 became a reality when erstwhile star Conor McGregor signed on the dotted line to face Khabib Nurmagomedov. The McGregor saga is well known by now: nearly cleaning out the featherweight division in his rise to the top. Seizing a chance to challenge Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight title, only for RDA to be injured. Agreeing to fight Nate Diaz in a non-title fight instead, which turned into a back-to-back series when Diaz submitted McGregor in their first encounter. A majority decision later, and McGregor had his revenge. And in his very next fight, he had his second title, after knocking out Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Then… nothing. Not in the UFC at least. The promotion stripped him of his 145lb title, needing to keep the money machine rolling. Titles make money only when they are defended, after all. McGregor then did the unthinkable and forced the UFC’s hand into allowing him to take a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. The money fight became one of the most profitable boxing events in the sport’s history. Yet McGregor was nowhere near the octagon.
The closest he came was UFC 223 earlier this year, when he stormed the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York with a number of accomplices and launched a metal dolly through the window of a bus housing Khabib Nurmagomedov. McGregor had only been recently stripped of his UFC lightweight title, the second belt taken from him for inactivity. Nurmagomedov had, days earlier, accosted McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov in a local hotel. Then ‘The Eagle’ won the title the UFC had taken from Conor.
And so the grudge match was set. Once McGregor’s lawyers secured a plea deal for his antics, the hotly anticipated fight between McGregor and Nurmagomedov was made. UFC 229, October 6 in Las Vegas.
On Thursday, the UFC held a press conference closed to the public to promote the event, with both fighters in attendance. You can watch that unfold above.