Conor McGregor's head coach at Straight Blast Gym, John Kavanagh, is not impressed by Khabib Nurmagomedov's undefeated MMA record. 'The Eagle' recently officially relinquished the lightweight championship and is receiving praise for retiring with an unblemished Mixed Martial Arts record.
Taking a dig at the Russian fighter, John Kavanagh questioned the calibre of opposition that Nurmagomedov faced while making his surge to the top. Prior to making his UFC debut in 2012, Khabib Nurmagomedov fought in several smaller promotions in Russia. During the initial phase of his MMA career, Nurmagomedov faced opposition with a poor MMA record.
John Kavanagh mentioned that fighters with superficial pleasing records often have not faced tougher opponents during their rise, in a sly dig at Khabib Nurmagomedov.
John Kavanagh's claims are backed by the fact that the first six fighters that Khabib Nurmagomedov fought in his pro-MMA career had no victories to their names. Nurmagomedov eventually faced two more opponents with zero victories on their resume and extended his record to 15-0 before making his UFC debut against Kamal Shalorus at UFC on FX 1.
Khabib Nurmagomedov dominated all his opponents with elite grappling skills that were unmatched in the UFC. The Sambo fighter easily took lightweights down and inflicted damage with significant ground and pound. That paved the way for the immense success Khabib Nurmagomedov achieved in his MMA career.
When Khabib Nurmagomedov attacked John Kavanagh & co at UFC 229
Khabib Nurmagomedov jumped the Octagon fence to attack Dillon Danis, Conor McGregor's Jiu-Jitsu coach after a fiery buildup to the clash between the Irishman and Nurmagomedov at UFC 257.
John Kavanagh was standing right beside Danis when 'The Eagle' lashed out at the Bellator fighter. Speaking with BT Sport about that incident, Kavanagh talked about what was going through his mind when Khabib Nurmagomedov jumped out of the cage.
"What went through my mind was 'duck'. It's just a sport at the end of the day. And so, you know, to have dark moments like this to be so public and to be vilified by the press and what not. It makes everything take a few steps back. So, it's disappointing, to say the least. You just don't want that to be part of our game. Fair enough, there was a very emotional build-up to this, but then it was over. Khabib had won, congratulations, shake hands, he was the better man on that particular night. (But) things spilled over and what happened, happened. It's in the past now, and I'm glad it doesn't have that feel to it this time." (H/T Sportskeeda for quotes.)