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4 Sep, 2019 13:00

'Everything he said... he did nothing': Khabib explains what makes him different to Conor McGregor

'Everything he said... he did nothing': Khabib explains what makes him different to Conor McGregor

Nearly a year after he extended his 27-fight undefeated streak at the volatile Irishman's expense.UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov says him being a man of his word is what separates him from Conor McGregor.

Khabib defeated McGregor by fourth-round submission last October at UFC 229 in Las Vegas in a fight as notable for actions outside the cage as inside of it, but once the dust settled it was the Russian standout who emerged with the victory and the world title.

This weekend in Abu Dhabi Khabib fights for the first time since that wild night in Las Vegas. But even with a challenge as significant as Dustin Poirier on the horizon, the specter of Conor McGregor still looms large over Nurmagomedov's fighting future.

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In a recent interview with UK broadcaster BT Sport, Khabib explained the differences between him and McGregor – particularly in the wake of recent footage released by TMZ which appeared to show McGregor striking a defenseless man in an Irish bar.

“All my life I have competed with someone and I want to keep doing that,” he said. “I have a big, big fire inside and I want to be the best fighter in the world, not the best fighter from my country, but the best of seven billion people.”

“I told people October 6 (UFC 229) was the day I was waiting for, it's not my style to talk, of course I told people my plan; I was going to make him tired, change his face, smash his face... and I did everything that I said.

“But everything he said... he did nothing, that's the big difference between us.”

Despite McGregor finding occasional success on the feet and becoming the first fighter in the UFC to win a round from Nurmagomedov on the scorecards, the result of the bout between the two was a huge psychological boost for the Russian star, despite his actions after the final bell when he leaped from the cage to attack members of McGregor's team, an action that ultimately led to a lengthy suspension.

Nonetheless, Khabib doesn't dwell on his actions that day. After all, all bets are off when it comes to McGregor.

“For me, I don't like this guy because he punches old people, Khabib said, referencing the recent footage released.

“Sometimes when you are hungry you are different, when you have money you are different and you have to control your emotions.

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“He is a big star, how can you punch old people when you are one of the best fighters in the world? The guy could have died, if he had gone down he could have died.

“This shows how he has changed with money, most crazy things are because of money or fame.