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"It's not about takedowns" - Khabib Nurmagomedov reveals his gameplan against Conor McGregor at UFC 229

Khabib Nurmagomedov (right) opened on his approach to fight Conor McGregor (left) at UFC 229
Khabib Nurmagomedov (right) opened on his approach to fight Conor McGregor (left) at UFC 229
Tarun Bhatt
Modified 20 Feb 2021

Khabib Nurmagomedov's wrestling acumen is the best weapon in the Dagestani's arsenal. At UFC 229, Nurmagomedov relentlessly pressurized Conor McGregor with his Dagestani sambo to evade the Irishman's knockout attempts.

In a recent interview with fellow Russian MMA athlete Magomed Ismailov, Khabib Nurmagomedov talked about how he strategized the win against McGregor at UFC 229.

The Notorious one is known for being an elite striker, courtesy of his precise left-hand. Khabib Nurmagomdeov acknowledged this and thus wanted to wear down McGregor with his wrestling pressure. Nurmagomedov pointed out that McGregor's knockout ability eventually faded away as the rounds proceeded further. The Dagestani fighter capitalized on the opportunity and submitted a gassed-out Conor McGregor in round 4 of their fight.

"I grabbed his leg and didn't rush because we have five rounds. Just smart work, grab his leg, and expand. It's not so necessary to take him down all the time. I had to keep his legs and he gets tired of this. It makes him tired and his hand heavy, so after his KO power fades away. It's not about takedowns", said Khabib Nurmagomedov. (Translation courtesy: Magomed Ismailov's YouTube channel)

Khabib Nurmagomedov believes that Conor McGregor is past his heyday

At UFC 257, Conor McGregor suffered a devastating TKO loss (first of his pro-MMA career) against Dustin Poirier. Conor McGregor cited his inactivity inside the cage as the reason for his defeat. The Irishman has only fought three times in the last four years and it appears as though ring rust cought up to him.

Judging by this recent loss, Khabib Nurmagomedov alluded that the Irishman might have passed his prime as an athlete.

"There is no way that a man can peak two times... a team could do it. For example, Real Madrid did this a few times in a row... a man cannot have two primes."

On his way to the helm of the UFC, Conor McGregor was known for being one of the most active fighters. The Irishman fought a total of six times in a span of two years, from 2015-16.


Conor Mcgregor is still the biggest draw in combat sports as was evident from his last PPV numbers. The event became the second highest selling PPV for the promotion. MMA experts have claimed, however, that the Irishman's stardom might have hindered his objective to stay more active.

Published 20 Feb 2021, 13:15 IST
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