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What next for Khabib?

Paul Benson
1.84K   //    07 Oct 2018, 12:34 IST

Khabib is restrained by security in the incredible aftermath of UFC 229
Khabib is restrained by security in the incredible aftermath of UFC 229

UFC 229 is in the books. After all the pre-event hype, the Lightweight Champion defeated "Notorious" Conor McGregor and may have stolen away the notorious moniker from the Irishman after an incredible post-fight brawl that truly had to be seen to be believed.

Prior to that, the Champion Khabib stuck to the gameplan which had seen him victorious in his previous 26 MMA bouts as he went 27-0 as an MMA fighter.

Khabib used his superior wrestling skills to keep McGregor at bay and comfortably won the first two rounds. A tight third round possibly went to McGregor as he landed more strikes and inflicted more damage than his opponent. However, Khabib then did what he so often does in his fights, he wore his opponent down and secured a match-winning choke.

However, the real story of the match was the incredible post-fight scenes that ensued as Champion, Khabib taunted the fallen McGregor, had words with McGregor's team then unbelievably leapt over the Octagon and attacked McGregor stable-mate Dillon Danis who was sat at ringside.

An ugly melee ensued in which police had to restrain both teams as well as irate fans who attempted to jump the Octagon.

The traditional post-fight interviews had to be scrapped as UFC President, Dana White told Khabib that another riot would ensue if he put the belt around his waist.

Khabib is unbeaten in 27 professional fights; the longest active consecutive winning streak in MMA today and his superior wrestling skills which see him grind down his opponents in the clinch, may ensure his fights may not be the most exciting but his technique is undoubtedly phenomenally successful.

At just two months younger and one inch taller than McGregor and with only two more professional fights, he could not have been any better matched with his opponent. Alike, in every way except their technique. What is clear though, is that his technique is superior to McGregor's.

After defeating the biggest draw in MMA history, what now?


So, what next for Khabib?

Tony Ferguson - Next up for Khabib?
Tony Ferguson - Next up for Khabib?

A re-match with McGregor is a possibility of course. The fight will have drawn well on pay per view and the post-fight melee will ensure there is interest in another bout between the two combatants. However, given the bad blood between the two camps and the chaos that ensued here, it may prohibit that from occurring. Khabib may feel he has proved his point as far as McGregor is concerned as well.

What is for certain, is that Khabib will not retire as was mooted as a possibility before the fight. He will fight on.

His next opponent will likely now be the winner of the undercard bout between Tony Ferguson and Anthony Pettis.

Ferguson, already a top contender for the Lightweight Championship has put himself at the front of the queue to fight the Champion with a decisive victory over Pettis.

The 34-year-old has not lost since 2012 and is on an 11 fight winning streak himself and with an all-round wrestling and striking game has the tools to hurt Khabib.

This would be a Lightweight bout for the ages and will most likely be booked as Khabib's next title defence.