War of Words: The best quotes from Conor & Khabib's 'darkest' UFC 229 presser (PHOTOS/VIDEO)
Notoriously not-exactly-camera-shy McGregor was on white-hot form and at his scathing best, turning the event into a showcase of his razor-sharp wit and verbal gymnastics - somehow managing to become several octaves louder than his bright pink suit at Thursday's presser.
The former champ was immediately on the front foot and attacked everything from Khabib's father and trainer Abdulmanap and the fighter's "glass jaw" to making scathing accusations of cowardice and corruption towards the Russian and his team.
Promotion president Dana White called Thursday’s event “the darkest press conference” he had witnessed due to the personal nature of the epithets slung back and forth from either fighter.
I spoke with Dana White who called today's event "the darkest press conference" he has seen due to how personal it got with family and politics being involved.— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) September 20, 2018
Undefeated 26-0 champ Khabib remained cool and calm throughout, firing back his own stern shots and retorts to the outspoken Irish phenomenon.
Here, RT Sport rounds up the most scything, close-to-the-knuckle quotes from the press conference for the UFC's 'biggest fight in history'.
“I came back for the love of fighting and the love of war, and I am going to love putting a truly truly bad beating on this little glass-jaw rat.” - McGregor gets the ball well and truly rolling with an explanation of his return from a two-year lay-off to try and reclaim the lightweight belt he once held.
“What’s wrong? English change your language? Now you talk English? What’s wrong with your language?” - Khabib lets fly with a crack at McGregor's use of English as opposed to Gaelic in reference to English colonialism in Ireland, to which McGregor replies in Irish.
Reporter: "Fill in the blank. Conor McGregor is going to 'blank' Khabib when you two meet each other."
McGregor: "STOMP ON HIS HEAD AS HE'S UNCONSCIOUS!" - 'Mystic Mac' makes yet another menacing prediction for the fight.
"You said send location... HERE I AM. RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!" - McGregor answers Khabib's famous quote.
“My Chechen friends...they told me that they have chicken jaws in Dagestan, and I believe them, because I know a glass jaw when I see one...I know he is afraid of a smack; and if you’re afraid of a smack, off me, a smack will feel like a double barrel shotgun.” - McGregor believes he has the edge of inside information on Dagestan native Khabib.
You don't have to like the guy but I think Conor McGregor may have just surpassed Eminem, Drake and Ice Cube for the most researched diss track in history. #UFC229— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) September 20, 2018
"I hope it's a long night!" - McGregor welcomes the promises made by Khabib to try and drag 'The Notorious', known for his swift KO-power and early finishes, into deep water in the latter stages of the fight.
Khabib: "We don't need questions. I will ask the questions. Ask your friend why he let me slap him." Conor: "Ask these nuts." - McGregor bats away a Khabib potshot, in reference to his altercation with the Russian training partner of the Irishman, Artem Lobov, with yet another one-liner.
“Wrestling? You’re going to be wrestling my knuckle out of your orbital bone.” - McGregor scoffs at the clear dichotomy in their individual fighting styles.
“After this fight, back to boxing” - Khabib goads Conor about his multimillion-dollar deal to fight pound for pound boxing king Floyd Mayweather Jr., which is the only outing in combat sports he has made in a two-year absence from the octagon, a 10th-round TKO loss.
"Are you disrespecting your president, Vladimir Putin!? Are you disrespecting your president, Vladimir Putin!?" - McGregor accuses Khabib of making a flippant comment about not wanting a picture with Russian President Putin at the World Cup final, similar to the Irishman's.
Khabib asked what he felt when he saw Putin with Conor at the World Cup final.Conor starts literally gigglingKhabib: "I felt nothing. I've never wanted to take a picture with anyone." #UFC229— José Youngs (@JoseYoungs) September 20, 2018
“You took a s*** on the back of a bus” - McGregor was like a dog with a bone on the subject of the incident in which the former two-time UFC champion attacked a bus carrying fighters, including Khabib, at the Barclays Center in April, smashing a window of the vehicle.
“If my friend ever gets slapped, I would ask ‘why you didn’t give him back’. You have to fight. If you lose we gonna come. What’s wrong with him? What’s wrong with your team?” - Khabib has his say on the altercation with Lobov and McGregor's reaction.
“Still work but I think maybe no.” - Khabib fails to confirm whether or not his father and trainer, Abdulmanap, would be able to receive a US visa for the fight.
“If you got off that bus, you’d be dead right now and I’d be in a cell.” - temporary jailbird McGregor again mentions bus-gate, ironically after which he was arrested and spent time in custody.
"You can't say as-salaam alaikum and congratulate whiskey." - Khabib has stern words for a reporter's greeting to both fighters, after addressing the Russian and then complimenting McGregor's alcohol business venture.
"You're dead when I get my hands on you, did you hear me? You're f****** dead! I'll drink it. Me and the Irish Boston animal, Dana White, the OG of the fight game! We'll sup these bad boys." - McGregor offers Khabib a sample of his whiskey, which the devout Muslim rebuffs. The 'Champ Champ' ensures he will enjoy the refused libation with White when the fight is over.
"It's on the canvas! It's on the canvas! Like his blood will be on the canvas October 6th. Let's get this face-off done we're wrapped up now." - Ever the salesman, McGregor makes sure he has the last word of proceedings.