‘Beaten fair & square’: McGregor analyzes Khabib defeat, ready to face ‘next in line’ before rematch
Conor McGregor has admitted Khabib Nurmagomedov beat him “fair and square” in their UFC 229 megafight, vowing to learn from his mistakes and saying he is prepared to “face the next in line” before a potential rematch.
In a lengthy Instagram post, the Irishman broke down his comprehensive submission defeat round-by-round, acknowledging he made crucial mistakes including not respecting the lightweight champion’s stand-up game.
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While the Irish star felt he had won round one “from a fighting standpoint,” he said the brutal second round – during which he was dropped by a fierce right hand from Nurmagomedov and somehow survived a subsequent ground and pound onslaught – was “the worst of my fighting career.”
McGregor believes he recovered to take round three, but said he made “a critical error” by exposing his back in the fourth round, allowing Nurmagomedov to submit him via rear-naked choke hold.
Ultimately, McGregor said he was “beaten fair and square,” adding: "It was a great fight and it was my pleasure. I will be back with my confidence high. Fully prepared. If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line.”
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Thoughts on my last fight. Round 1. I believe from a sport standpoint, round 1 was his. Top position against the fence. Zero position advancement or damage inflicted. But top position. From a fight standpoint the first round is mine. Actual shots landed and a willingness to engage. Straight left early. Knee to the head on the low shot. Elbows in any and all tie up scenarios. Opponent just holding the legs against the fence for almost the entire round. Round 2 he is running away around the cage before being blessed with a right hand that changed the course of the round, and the fight. It was a nice shot. After the shot I bounced back up to engage instantly, but again he dipped under to disengage. That is the sport and it was a smart move that led to a dominant round, so no issue. Well played. If I stay switched on and give his stand up even a little more respect, that right hand never gets close and we are talking completely different now. I gave his upright fighting no respect in preparation. No specific stand up spars whatsoever. Attacking grapplers/wrestlers only. That won’t happen again. I also gave my attacking grappling no respect. To defense minded. Lessons. Listen to nobody but yourself on your skill set. You are the master of your own universe. I am the master of this. I must take my own advice. Round 3. After the worst round of my fighting career, I come back and win this round. Again walking forward, walking him down, and willing to engage. Round 4. My recovery was not where it could have been here. That is my fault. Although winning the early exchanges in 4, he dips under again and I end up in a bad position with over 3 on the clock. I work to regain position and end up upright, with my back to the fence. A stable position. Here however, I made a critical error of abandoning my over hook at this crucial time, exposing the back, and I end up beaten fair and square. What can I say? It was a great fight and it was my pleasure. I will be back with my confidence high. Fully prepared. If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line. It’s all me always, anyway. See you soon my fighting fans I love you all ❤
Since the fight, McGregor, 30, has been on an extended tour of the US promoting his ‘Proper 12’ whiskey brand.
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He penned a six-fight deal with the UFC before the bout against Nurmagomedov, although a potential rematch with the Dagestani fighter currently seems like a distant prospect.
Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz says that the Russian has “moved on” from McGregor, after a toxic build-up to the fight and the carnage that followed – which has led to both men receiving a temporary suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
UFC chief Dana White recently said that he would prefer the Russian to face fellow lightweight Tony Ferguson next – a popular choice with many in the MMA community.
Nurmagomedov and the US fighter have been slated to fight on several occasions, although each time injury or other factors have conspired to sink the fight.
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Ferguson returned to action in the co-main event of the UFC 229 card in Las Vegas, beating Anthony Pettis via second-round TKO in a brutal slugfest, and called out both Nurmagomedov and McGregor after the fight.
Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather has also thrown his name into the mix as a potential opponent for Nurmagomedov and McGregor, taking up a call-out from the Russian fighter and saying he would also take on the Irishman for a second time.
READ MORE: ‘Khabib fight is happening next year, then I want McGregor again’ – Mayweather (VIDEO)