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After a long week of ups and downs we arrived into Thursday night 10pm and the week turned around. The McGregor show is back in business and business is good!
The press conference for the biggest fight in MMA history (until the next one) took place in Radio City Music hall in New York. The new challenger to the crown in the Dagastani Khabib Nurmagomedov will step into the cauldron and the cage to take on McGregor. The interesting thing to look out for was would the usual McG mental warfare commence? Has himself and his team done an FBI like backround check on Khabib and his team, and would this have any affect on the challenger?
This was the first time that the 26-0 challenger was in the limelight. Lets make something clear, there is the limelight and then there is the Mcgregor limelight. A main event is 1 thing but a Mcgregor main event is a circus and it is the circus that usually melts an opponent. Will this happen to Khabib? Will we see signs of this during the press conference?
The first thing of note was that there where no members of the public present, only media. And if you know about the MMA media in America, it is mostly fans as opposed to employed journalists. Bloggers who kept the sport afloat during the dark days of the middle ages of the UFC. So the chances of in depth and well thought out questions where close to nil which opened up the floor to the Mcgregor show.
Immediately from the introductions, McGregor wouldn’t take his eyes off his opponent and Khabib took some time to return the gaze, when he did he looked ready to go toe to toe with the champ champ. Before words where exchanged it was obvious that 1 fighter is massively charismatic and draws the eyeballs, the other was a fighter. Khabib was dressed in black and looked calm early on and it wasn’t long before the pressure came from the man in the August McGregor suit, shooting Khabib with the reported links to Chechen dictators, the shot that Khabib felt. The first quick glance away and Conor then hammered into an advertisement for Proper 12 Whiskey. An odd tangent.
Then the volume went up. Mcgregor went full on with the histrionics. Sheer volume drowned out the opponent who wouldn’t be able to keep up with the verbal sparring. McG then went serious when speaking about his camp and the work they have done. You can see that when he is serious the cartoon stops, McGregor is playing a game and he is lightyears ahead of everyone else. Rattling Khabib again when speaking about his fighting style, this has never happened to Khabib before. I think in this fight he will be found out and in the second fight he will be more than prepared (too much money in these 2).
The presser kept going the same way, silly questions and loud responses slowly chipping away at Khabib. Did it work?
Well we will know soon enough, ahead of the fight we will hear how each fighter is getting on with their weight cut (whether they should be cutting or not is another story) and Khabib is much thicker built than Conor at the same height, he has struggled to make the 155lb weight limit in the past. Even having his kidneys shut down on him recently. With the stress of the Mcgregor show now fully realised by him, will this be on his mind if the lbs that shifted quickly last time are taking a bit longer to lose this time? That is the first sign. From there you go to the weight ins, ceremonial weigh ins and the fight.
But the fight itself will be won days ahead of the opening bell. Either way, McGregor has my money again!
2 absolute monsters will get in the cage and in order to win, in order to utilise their strengths they have to venture into their own weaknesses. Psychologically that is massive. Khabib is a once in a lifetime wrestler with comparatively weak striking. Conor is a striker that hasn’t been seen before but is comparatively weaker when on the ground. In order for Khabib to play to his strengths he has to get close enough to take Conor down, if he is close enough to take Conor down then he is close enough to get him. Once he gets hit the fight changes.
Conor on the other hand can pick his shots, frustrate with leg kicks and pepper with annoying jabs, drawing strikes out of Khabib. I feel this is how the fight will go. But I do think that Conor gets taken down early, maybe takes some damage but is unhurt.
More analysis the closer we get, but whatever side of the McG fence you are sitting on, you will pay money to see what happens.