‘Remove Herb Dean and You Will Understand’- Khabib Nurmagomedov Says the Referee Saved Conor McGregor From Blacking Out

Published 08/19/2021, 7:52 AM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 06: (R-L) Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia attempts to submit Conor McGregor of Ireland in their UFC lightweight championship bout during the UFC 229 event inside T-Mobile Arena on October 6, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


The former UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, detailed what would have happened if the veteran referee, Herb Dean, hadn’t separated him from Conor McGregor after the latter tapped. The Dagestani native defeated his great rival in the main event of UFC 229 and successfully retained his gold.

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‘The Eagle’ recently appeared for a media conference where he signed a long-term deal with energy drink giant ‘gorilla energy’. When one reporter asked him what would have happened if there was no one in between him and Conor, ‘The Eagle’ detailed what could have happened. Furthermore, he hilariously invited the reporter backstage to make him understand through actions.

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“Remove Herb Dean, and you will understand what would’ve happened,” Khabib said. “A person can die from a grip like that. If you want to, I can choke you behind the curtain and you’ll see what would’ve happened. When a person strangles you and has been doing this for 30 years, this is a cold weapon.”

LAS VEGAS, CA – OCTOBER 06: Referee Herb Dean separates Conor McGregor, left, and Khabib Nurmagomedov during their fight at UFC 229 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Friday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Digital First Media/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)

“If there had been no referee, what could have happened? (Dean) removed my hands. He removed my grip. We… understand everything, we understand what could have been,” he added.

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A majestic grappler, Khabib, used to break his opponents on the canvas. The now-retired fighter has 11 submission wins under his name, which is enough to suggest that McGregor wouldn’t have left the octagon on his feet if the referee hadn’t intervened.

Coach Javier Mendez believes Khabib Nurmagomedov can still beat anyone

Khabib (29-0) retired from MMA after successfully defending his lightweight gold against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. Subsequently, he has indulged himself in other ventures, like promoting his own MMA promotion, Eagle FC, and mentoring his pals and cousins like Islam Makhachev and Usman Nurmagomedov. Hence, looking at his recent commitments, one may feel he would have forgotten his octagon skills.

However, his AKA coach, Javier Mendez, believes he can still defeat anyone in the world. While appearing in his podcast, Mendez detailed how Khabib could still fight on an elite level against anyone.

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“To this day, you know, people may not realize that Khabib, right now, if you asked me, ‘Can Khabib beat who-and-who right now?’ I’d say he’d beat them all right now. Still. You know, just get ready to go. Hey, if he wanted to fight next week, he can fight next week. I mean, he’s in shape all the time. That is something that I get the privilege to see,” Mendez said.

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Despite being in the prime shape of his life, ‘The Eagle’ retired from his beloved game. However, his fans still believe he will once again return to rule the MMA world.

What did you make of Khabib’s comments on his encounter with Conor?

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Akshyay Srichandan Mahapatra

552 articles

Akshyay Mahapatra is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He wished to combine his passion for the UFC (that he has been following since 2008) as well as his love for writing. This motivated him to enter the world of combat sports journalism.

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