There’s an age-old question on who will win, the unstoppable force or the immovable object?
On October 6, 2018, the whole world stopped. Years of tension and personal hatred has led to that fateful day. On that day, UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor happened, and its repercussions can still be felt today.
On one hand, you got Conor McGregor, the biggest name in the sport of MMA. He’s a former two-division champion that has captured the imagination of his fellow Irishmen and people around the world. He became the first UFC champion to hold two titles in two different weight classes at the same time. Armed with an uncontrollable knack of talking smack and unparalleled charisma, McGregor became the biggest star that MMA has ever seen.
The man that stood across from him was the unstoppable force of nature that is still yet to lose. When Khabib Nurmagomedov entered this fight, he had a record of 26-0 and was on a 10-fight winning streak to open his UFC career. Khabib prides himself on using takedowns and superior ground control to pressure his opponents. His opponents start wilting as soon as he assumes control of them. In an age of versatility, Nurmagomedov is now proving that people know what he’ll do. However, they just can’t stop the inevitable.
After a full calendar year, let us now take a look at ten facts about Khabib vs. McGregor.
Fact #1: The Opening Promo And A Wanted Man
UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor was built up as one of the most important events in MMA history. Emanating from the UFC’s de-facto home, Las Vegas, Nevada, UFC 229 did not come up short with the pageantry. This includes the pay-per-views opening promo, which focused on the two men in the main event.
This opening promo was narrated by renowned actor, John Malkovich. The promo also features the song, “I’m a Wanted Man” by Royal Deluxe. Previously used on multiple films and television shows like Peaky Blinders and Lucifer, the song was perfect as both fighters valued the loyalty of their friends and family. That loyalty was also the main reason why this rivalry was so heated. “I’m a Wanted Man” was also perfect because both Conor and Khabib will face suspensions for the post-fight brawl that happened.
There is no clear video of UFC 229’s opening promo, but there exists one on Youtube.com that was taken from a fan cam.
Fact #2: 27-0
After defending his belt against the brash Irishman, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s record improved to 27-0. That is currently the longest active winning streak today and the longest win streak without a loss. This is according to Fightmatrix.com, and the next longest current streak for a UFC champion without encountering one lone loss belongs to Israel Adesanya.
Khabib Nurmagomedov has improved his record to 28-0 since last month.
Fact #3: 2.4 Million Buys
During the lead up to the event, UFC President Dana White boasted that this event will be the highest-selling pay per view in UFC history. Well, according to an article by mmafighting.com, it indeed happened. According to tapology.com, Khabib vs. McGregor broke the previous record held by UFC 202. The top 6 highest selling pay per views of all time had McGregor as the headliner except for UFC 100 (UFC 229, UFC 202, UFC 196, UFC 205, and UFC 194).
Fact #4: Round 3
Khabib Nurmagomedov has never lost a fight, period. Well, you might be surprised that under the UFC banner, the Eagle has never lost a single round. Yes, despite the heavily disputed fight vs. Tibau, Khabib has never dropped a lone round to any UFC opponent. That is, however, before he fought at UFC 229: Khabib vs McGregor. As reported by express.co.uk’s article on the fight, Khabib has finally lost one.
That round was the 3rd one in his fight versus the Notorious One. In all of the three judges’ scorecards, Khabib was up 29-27, with all three giving the third round to McGregor. However, if you get the chance to watch the fight again, you’ll see that round three was even close, and Conor did not win that round clean.
Fact #5: First Title Defense
UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor was the sight of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s first title defense as the UFC’s lightweight champion. McGregor was a former lightweight king, winning the belt from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205. The Notorious One went into that fight as the reigning Featherweight champion as well. However, Conor was stripped of his belts and was not able to defend either title even once.
With his win, Nurmagomedov has surpassed his rival in terms of title defenses and doing it by beating the former undisputed Lightweight king.
Fact #6: Round 2
Without a doubt, round 2 of the Khabib vs. McGregor bout was the most dominant round of the fight. In this round, Khabib Nurmagomedov was not only dominant on the ground. The Eagle hit McGregor with the most telling blow of the fight. In the opening section of the round, Nurmagomedov popped the former champion with a dangerous overhand right. Moments later, Khabib would then slam McGregor into the ground and unleash a barrage of strikes.
As per the UFC’s official fight stats, Khabib landed 41/60 significant strikes. These numbers include the devastating right and those thrown on the ground. Khabib also made three passes on the ground leading to the most one-sided round an opponent has had against the Irishman.
Fact #7: 11 Straight Part 1
With Khabib defeating his rival, he has then amassed an impressive winning streak of 11 wins under the UFC banner. According to fightmatrix.com, this is the longest active streak by a UFC lightweight and is second among active UFC win streaks. Jon Jones would have had the record, but his 2nd fight with Daniel Cormier was overturned. Georges St. Pierre owns the current active streak by a fighter.
However, with St. Pierre being retired and Jon Jones’ streak was halted due to a technicality, Khabib shares the record with another man who we will touch upon next.
Fact #8: 11 Straight Part 2
UFC 229: Khabib vs McGregor ended with Khabib Nurmagomedov getting his 27th straight win and his 11th under the UFC banner. However, this pay-per-view also saw another fighter get his 11th win in a row. That man is former lightweight interim Champion, Tony Ferguson. Known as “El Cucuy,” Ferguson was coming off a long break due to an injury. That night, Tony beat another former lightweight honcho, Anthony Pettis.
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson now own the longest winning streak in UFC lightweight history. Both fighters have added another win in their respective columns. Both are now 12-0, and if a potential fight does indeed happen, the winner will tie Jones, St. Pierre, Demetrious Johnson, and Max Holloway at 13 wins in a row. All four men are either former or current UFC champions.
Fact #9: 58% Significant Strikes Percentage
Khabib Nurmagomedov is not known for his striking. While capable and still improving, once you hear his name, you will always talk about chain wrestling and ground control. However, Khabib also excels at dishing out ground and pound. According to his UFC fighter page, Khabib is averaging 42% accuracy on his strikes. This includes strikes thrown on the ground and while standing up.
However, during the Khabib vs. McGregor fight, Khabib landed way better compared to his average. Nurmagomedov landed 58% of his significant strikes in the fight. This means that he has landed over half of the power shots that he threw during the fight. In all four rounds, his significant strikes accuracy was over 50%, with the third stanza being the lone exception.
Fact #10: Suspensions
After Nurmagomedov made McGregor tap to a Neck Crank/Fulcrum Choke, a fight then happened outside the cage. Khabib leaped over the cage walls and jumped towards Dillon Danis. This resulted in a melee involving the two men. While in the ring, McGregor also got into an altercation with two of Khabib’s cornermen.
One of these men is a friend of the champion, while the other is UFC fighter Zubaira Tukhugov. Tukhugov punched McGregor after that latter punched another member of Khabib’s team. This resulted in these two men screaming at each other before throwing blows. The other man involved in this altercation threw punches to the back of the Irishman’s head.
After the ruckus, Nurmagomedov was still awarded the victory, but his pay was held up by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
This resulted in both men being suspended and fined by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Khabib had a longer sentence and was fined for a heftier fee.