‘I’d do it again 100 times’: Khabib has zero regrets over infamous UFC 229 cage jump
Khabib Nurmagomedov says he would repeat his infamous UFC 229 cage jump “100 times out of 100” and that he has no regrets over the scenes that marred his win over Conor McGregor back in October.
UFC lightweight champion Nurmagomedov was handed a nine-month suspension and $500,000 fine last week by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), over the mass brawl he sparked by vaulting the cage to attack McGregor’s teammate Dillon Danis after submitting the Irishman in the fourth round in Las Vegas.
Speaking to Russian channel Match TV, Nurmagomedov said he does not regret his actions on that notorious night on October 6.
“I’ve had many situations in my life that I regret, but you can’t turn back time,” Nurmagomedov said.
“But this is not on the list of things I regret. If the situation happened again 100 times, I would do the same thing 100 times.
“I don’t have a gram of regret about my actions. Some people liked it, some people didn’t. It makes no difference. I did what I wanted to do.”
At the time, Nurmagomedov had appeared contrite when speaking at the post-fight press conference, during which he apologized to Nevada and the city of Las Vegas.
He has also admitted that he should have controlled his emotions better, amid criticism from his father and trainer Abdulmanap and even comments on the issue from Russian President Vladimir Putin.Also on rt.com Putin to Khabib on UFC brawl: ‘When someone provokes us from outside, there can be hell to pay’
But he has maintained from the outset that his actions were the natural culmination of the hate-filled build-up to the fight that saw McGregor's trash-talk delve deep into sensitive areas such as the Russian’s family and Muslim faith.
The undefeated Dagestani fighter is also a proponent of Sambo – the Russian combat sport, which translates as "self-defense without weapons,” and cited it in justifying his response after the fight.
“I’m a Sambo fighter. It’s unarmed self-defense. I didn’t attack first, they attacked me. There were provocations.
“From the organization [UFC] I felt support for his side, there were a lot of moments when I turned a blind eye.
"I said at the press conferences that on October 6 I would dot all the I’s.
"Each person has his own opinion, I don’t want to argue with anyone. To each their own.”
McGregor was hit with a six-month ban and $50,000 fine for his role in the ugly scenes, during which he clashed with members of Khabib’s team in the cage.
The Russian fighter said that the difference in financial sanctions dished out to the two fighters was evidence of politics in action against his country.
“I already knew what it [the ban] would be approximately. I didn’t like it, the commission didn’t take into account the fact that I wasn’t the initiator of the fight.
“Our team didn’t start all of it. The commission only took into account the end.
“I was fined exactly 10 times more than McGregor. I believe that this attitude isn’t only towards me, but also towards our country.
“Sport should be without politics. And in our fight, politics were very strongly felt. I hadn’t felt that before, but now I’ve begun to.”
Nurmagomedov reiterated that he would shun an offer from the NSAC to have his ban reduced to six months, should he film an anti-bullying message for a social media campaign.
He instead said that Nevada should “work on its own behavior” as a state that “allows drugs, prostitution and gambling.”
Nurmagomedov has vowed never to fight in the state again, and is also unwilling to fight anywhere until his teammates Abubakar Nurmagomedov – who is also his cousin – and Zubaira Tukhugov have served backdated 12-month suspensions for their roles in the carnage at UFC 229.
Instead, the undefeated Dagestani is targeting a November superfight against Canadian UFC legend Georges St-Pierre.Also on rt.com Khabib confirms UFC legend GSP is target for November fight
Since the bans for Nurmagomedov and McGregor were announced, both have engaged in social media barbs over the events of that night, with neither appearing content to draw a line under it.
But Nurmagomedov said again that he would be open to some sort of reconciliation with the Irishman, even if not in the nearest future.
“Who are we not to forgive people if the Almighty forgives us?” he told Match TV.
“…At the moment I can say that it’s difficult for me to reach that point, but in the future, anything could happen, I wouldn’t rule it out.
“I'm not the kind of person who bears a grudge…
“I showed everything inside and outside the cage.
“I’m also pleased that the judge [commission] recognized McGregor as the victim. After the fight, it was clear who’s who in a lot of cases…But anything could happen.”Also on rt.com ‘I could smell him a mile away’: McGregor trolls Khabib & team after UFC 229 brawl suspensions
While Khabib sits out his suspension the talk will continue to mount over when and where ‘The Eagle’ next lands in the octagon, and who he faces.
But the saga with a certain brash Irishman looks far from over.