Conor McGregor wants ‘next in line’ if Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC rematch is off the cards
- Irishman says he’ll be back in UFC after admitting he lost ‘fair and square’ to Khabib Nurmagomedov in their UFC 229 fight
- McGregor admits he has learned lessons from the bout as he breaks down where things went wrong in detailed Instagram post
Conor McGregor has finally spoken in-depth over where he went wrong in his chaotic UFC 229 fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov, and vowed never to make the same mistakes again.
Save some social media posts and public appearances to promote his new whiskey, the Irishman has been largely silent following his fourth-round submission defeat by UFC lightweight champion Nurmagomedov.
“I end up beaten fair and square. What can I say?” McGregor said on Instagram. “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.”
Nurmagomedov is likely to be suspended for his part in a post-fight brawl with McGregor’s team that spilled outside the Octagon in Las Vegas earlier this month.
UFC president Dana White said he will not strip the Russian of his belt, however, and wants to match him up with No 1 contender Tony Ferguson next.
Ferguson staked his claim for a title shot with an impressive win against Anthony Pettis, but attempts to match him up with Nurmagomedov have fallen apart four years in a row, most recently in April when Ferguson suffered a freak knee injury days before the fight.
For McGregor, it’s not exactly back to the drawing board but he did admit he has plenty to work on after his second loss in UFC.
“I believe from a sport standpoint, round 1 was his [Nurmagomedov’s],” McGregor wrote. “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.”
McGregor said that a “blessed” right hand from his opponent in the second round change the course of the whole fight, after Nurmagomedov had been “running away” from the stand-up.
“It was a nice shot,” he sad. “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.”
The 30-year-old also said he gave his own attacking grappling “no respect”, but said he would learn the lessons so that he is never too defence-minded again.
“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,” he said.
McGregor admitted the mauling he received on the ground from Nurmagomedov after that punch was the worst round of his career.
Most observers had McGregor easily winning round three, which largely stayed in the stand-up, and the man himself agreed, saying he was walking his opponent and willing to engage.
“Round 4. My recovery was not where it could have been here. That is my fault,” he said. “Although winning the early exchanges, he dips under again and I end up in a bad position with over 3 [minutes] 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.”