The rivalry between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov is etched in the minds of MMA fans all over the world.
The animosity between the two men has often had chaotic consequences, for instance, McGregor hurling a dolly at a bus in which Nurmagomedov was traveling. However, things were not that unpleasant between McGregor and Nurmagomedov back in 2014. In fact, both fighters were cordial with each other before their rivalry.
'The Eagle', who was an up-and-coming UFC fighter seven years ago, once asked Conor McGregor to give him his UFC walkout t-shirt. Ahead of the Irishman's fight against Dustin Poirier at UFC 178, the Dagestani fighter had nothing but affection for his future adversary.
"Hey Conor, I'm in Vegas when you come let me know, I want you gave me this shirt," Nurmagomedov tweeted in 2014.
The Irishman replied:
"Let's do it brother! I fly out to Vegas tomorrow! Hit me up and we can train."
Conor McGregor had just achieved superstar status after he headlined the UFC Fight Night event against Diego Brandao in Dublin, Ireland. Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov was coming off a big win over Rafael dos Anjos.
Here is the photo that Nurmagomedov posted on his Twitter account after McGregor's victory against Poirier. McGregor later commented: "I love it champ! The Russian Bear!" on Nurmagomedov's Twitter post.
How did Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov become rivals?
After speculation regarding Conor McGregor's move to the lightweight division came to the fore, Khabib Nurmagomedov confidently claimed that he will "smash" the Irishman if he decided to move up a weight class.
"I like Conor McGregor but if he comes to 155, 4 minutes, I smash him. No problem. He is a striking guy, I like him. I think he can beat Jose Aldo, maybe finish him. But a lot of people think Jose Aldo can beat him. I think he (Conor) kills him (Jose Aldo)," Nurmagomedov told BJPenn.com in 2015.
Things have never been the same between McGregor and Nurmagomedov since then. The Russian suffered a slew of injuries that kept him out of action for two years before he returned in 2016 to fight Darrell Horcher.
Both men traded insults back-and-forth on social media, and the UFC finally decided to book the fight after the infamous dolly incident before UFC 223. Nurmagomedov and McGregor finally faced each other at UFC 229, and it was the Russian who won the fight comfortably via submission in the fourth round.