‘I begged God for one thing – to leave me in the cage with this clown’ - Khabib Nurmagomedov (VIDEO)
The undefeated UFC champion delivered a stone-cold verbal assassination of Conor McGregor to a stadium full of raucous home fans. About the post-fight fracas, instead of apologizing he said: “You can’t confine an eagle to a cage.”
Struggling to be heard over close to 10,000 cheering fans in Dagestan’s Anzhi Arena, who gathered to greet Nurmagomedov on his homecoming, the fighter nicknamed the Eagle seemed still full of the anger he had been storing in the months before the fight, while he was mercilessly taunted by the Irishman.
#Khabib Nurmagomedov fans gathered at local football stadium in #Dagestan#UFC229pic.twitter.com/IaRctSa88o— Denis Geyko (@DenisGeykoRT) October 8, 2018
“I prayed to God for one thing, to be left alone in the cage with this clown. I asked him this every day,” Nurmagomedov said, with no hint of a smile.
“I prayed that we would have no injuries, that we would make weight, and regain our strength, and finally be locked in that cage. Because a lot was said outside that cage, and I said that once that octagon door is shut, I am not responsible for my actions.”
#Khabib Nurmagomedov fans gathered at local football stadium in #Dagestan to meet #UFC lightweight champion #UFC229pic.twitter.com/tLJ2i6r5f7— Denis Geyko (@DenisGeykoRT) October 8, 2018
Now, in front of an exclusively Dagestani audience, it was his turn to drop the politically-correct platitudes.
“The first thing I wanted to show him, is the difference between our people, and his people. We know our history, our ancestors, and what our people have been through. Nothing can break us,” said Nurmagomedov, from his podium in the middle of a football field, flanked by his entourage.
Khabib Nurmagomedov did finally receive the #UFC lightweight belt, which Dana White refused to give him after the post-fight brawl with Conor McGregor’s team. Here he is lifting it to his fans at his homecoming in Dagestan @TeamKhabib@TheNotoriousMMA#KhabibMcGregorpic.twitter.com/O31xd0Xkyd— Danny Armstrong (@DannyWArmstrong) October 8, 2018
Despite the threat of suspension and a possible loss of his fight purse hanging over him for post-fight melee outside the octagon, Khabib, his UFC championship belt over his shoulder, expressed little remorse.
“And with what happened afterwards, some people say I did the wrong thing, others that I did the right thing,” the undefeated fighter said, as the crowd erupted.
“You can’t confine an eagle to a cage. And I showed them that,” Nurmagomedov added, as chants of “Khabib! Khabib!” rose spontaneously throughout the stands, with fans rushing from the stands and invading the pitch to get closer to their UFC lightweight champion.
#Khabib Nurmagomedov fans invade the pitch at local football stadium in #Dagestan to get closer to their hero #UFC229pic.twitter.com/JvhGsFH96Y— Denis Geyko (@DenisGeykoRT) October 8, 2018
Nurmagomedov fans, well-known for their over-zealousness, confirmed their reputation once again, forcing their hero to ask them to get back to the stands.
INSANE SCENES as #Khabib Nurmagomedov invade the pitch of local football stadium in #Dagestan#UFC229@TeamKhabibpic.twitter.com/QD7jSfRP16— Denis Geyko (@DenisGeykoRT) October 8, 2018