Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov II is a fight long time in the making and some believe - mainly from the Irishman's camp - that 'The Notorious' can beat 'The Eagle' if the rematch happens.
Many UFC fighters claim their fights to be the biggest ever in the history of the promotion. But the one fight which holds the potential to actually claim that is the rematch of the UFC 229 main event between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
In 2018, Khabib came out victorious with a fourth-round submission, but a section of the MMA community believes that the next time, the tables might be turned.
Here are five reasons why Conor McGregor can beat Khabib Nurmagomedov in the rematch, when and if it happens.
#5 Conor McGregor is more mature and better prepared
It is likely that there will always be some kind of bad blood between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov. These two men simply do not like each other. However, Conor McGregor has introduced a new and changed side of himself now, one that probably does not throw dollies at a bus full of UFC fighters.
The bold and brazen trash talk that got Conor McGregor into the heads of his opponents backfired for him ahead of UFC 229. But that is likely not going to happen when the rematch happens, allowing Conor McGregor to keep his focus on the fight.
Moreover, having fought Khabib once before, Conor would come prepared with the right weapons this time. He is known to bounce back from losses with a win. He did so with Nate Diaz and can possibly do it with Khabib Nurmagomedov as well.
#4 Conor McGregor has never been in a better shape
Conor McGregor's physique ahead of UFC 246 stirred up the conversation about how he had never looked better. Weighing in at Welterweight to fight Donald Cerrone, The Irishman indeed looked entirely transformed from his earlier self.
Even though not as skinny as he looked as a Featherweight, Conor McGregor's previous 155-pounds body was nowhere near as impressive.
Even though his next bout will be at Lightweight only, McGregor is looking even better than he did at 170-pounds.
#3 Conor McGregor would probably be coming off two consecutive wins
The first time Conor McGregor fought Khabib Nurmagomedov, it was his first bout in nearly two years. He was on a break from UFC and out of the Octagon since winning the Lightweight belt in 2016.
However, the case is different this time. Conor McGregor is in the thick of the action. His last outing was in January 2020, where he defeated 'Cowboy' with a clinical 40-second knockout.
If Conor McGregor does get to meet Khabib Nurmagomedov, it will likely happen only after he goes through Dustin Poirier, given Khabib is still the Lightweight Champ and Poirier is ranked above McGregor. So, Conor McGregor will be coming off with wins over two prominent UFC fighters, including a top-ranked name in the division.
#2 Khabib Nurmagomedov is retired and uncertain of his UFC future
A lot has happened since Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov first met. Khabib has lost his father this year and also announced his retirement in the wake of the incident. After defending his title against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, 'The Eagle' said this was his last fight in UFC.
Even though Khabib has said he would return if his mother gives her blessings, nothing is certain at the moment. For a long time, Khabib seemed to have his mind made up about the retirement. Whenever the question of a possible return has been asked, Khabib has said that he had no competitive interest left in the promotion, even though his manager, Ali Abdelaziz, has called this "fake news".
If the rematch does happen, it is likely that Conor McGregor would have a much greater hunger to win it than Khabib Nurmagomedov. In fact, the overconfidence that doomed McGregor last time but just do the same for Khabib in the next fight.
#1 Conor McGregor has been working on his grappling skills
Khabib Nurmagomedov has years of training experience with Dagestani wrestlers and a Judo blackbelt in his resume, which makes him so dangerous on the mat. However, Conor McGregor has not been sitting quietly either.
The Irishman, who is mostly known for his kickboxing and the vicious left punch, has reportedly been working on his grappling skills. Last time, Conor McGregor was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov, so this time he would be looking to avoid those takedowns as much as possible.Published 27 Dec 2020, 09:42 IST