Speaking in a press conference in Moscow earlier this month, Khabib Nurmagomedov admitted that he was a little disappointed in Conor McGregor's mental toughness when they fought back in 2018:
"Conor’s trash talk? Yes, he had talked for a while, but when I started pushing him, he immediately switched to the ‘it’s just business’ mode. I was even a bit disappointed. I expected him to be mentally tougher. When I was ground-and-pounding him, talking to him, and he responded that it was just business. It looked like he was trying to calm me down to avoid a real beating, just like a son trying to justify himself in front of his angry father. Psychology is a very strong tool."
The lead-up to the UFC 229 bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor was filled with trash talk and controversy, stemming from the infamous bus attack in April of 2018. After the bout, things got even more out of hand, as Nurmagomedov, McGregor and both their camps were involved in a brawl.
During the fight however, Nurmagomedov displayed an unparalleled level of dominance over McGregor. A viral video from the fight shows Nurmagomedov talking to Conor McGregor while punishing him with vicious ground-and-pound:
Conor McGregor himself has been known to do some trash talking inside the Octagon, but at UFC 229, Khabib Nurmagomedov gave 'The Notorious' a taste of his own medicine.
Conor McGregor was not the first opponent that Khabib Nurmagomedov trash talked inside the Octagon
Believe it or not, Conor McGregor isn't the only opponent that Khabib Nurmagomedov has talked trash to inside the Octagon.
In fact, Khabib has casually talked to a number of his opponents in the middle of a fight:
Khabib Nurmagomedov explained that talking to his opponents is a way to see if they're breaking mentally. One such example was during his fight with Dustin Poirier at UFC 242:
"...When [Dustin Poirier] started breathing heavily in the middle of the fight, I said to him: 'Hey, it's acclimatization.' Dustin replied 'No, not it's not,' and I was surprised that he even responded. We were fighting, and he was talking back to me. That was the sign that he started breaking mentally too. It's not just about him responding to me. The tone of his voice, the way he puts emphasis, those are all tiny psychological details that matter, and you can always see when your opponent starts breaking down. I always talk to my opponents. There was a moment in this fight where I just approached him and rudely grabbed his hands. Do you remember? Have a closer look at the fight because such small details are very elusive, but they often affect the course of the fight."
Khabib Nurmagomedov was not only a master of skill and technique, but he was a master of mind games as well. Just one of the reasons why 'The Eagle' is one of the best MMA fighters ever.Published 27 Dec 2020, 16:50 IST