Khabib Nurmagomedov arrived in the UFC on the back of 16 professional wins. He claimed 7 wins in the UFC over a period of 5 years and was in line to fight Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight strap. The company penciled in the fight for UFC 205, which would be the promotion’s maiden fight card from the iconic Madison Square Garden.
However, Alvarez missed the contract date and later the UFC booked him to take on Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor. As a result, ‘The Eagle’ got bumped off the card and took on Michael Johnson in the 2nd last preliminary fight.
Understandably, he was peeved and let it be known throughout the fight as he lectured ‘The Menace’ whilst pummelling him. In the post-fight interview, ‘The Eagle’ placed his papakha hat on Joe Rogan and delivered a speech thus displaying his frustration at being overlooked for a title shot.
He said, “Excuse me guys, I want to say something. I want to stay humble, but I have to talk because your guys talk too much. And you know what interesting I understand how crazy power PR UFC machine.”
Here, it is obvious that he is targeting Conor McGregor who tapped to Nate Diaz in March at UFC 196.
“I understand how your guy beginning of the year he tap like chicken, end of the year he fight for title. Crazy!”
As the Garden rang out with boos, an unflustered Nurmagomedov continued and defended his words saying, “Hey you know guys, this is true this is not trash talking.”
Furthermore, he launched a bizarre comparison of the populations of Ireland and Russia respectively thereby implying that his country is bigger. Also, he claimed that the McGregor fight is the easiest in the division.
“Irish only 6 million Russian 150 million. I wanna fight with your chicken because this is number one easy fight in Lightweight division.”
When talking specifically about his 24th MMA win, Nurmagomedov elected to compare it to his previous 23 fights. He linked it as a body of work to prove that he is worthy of a championship match.
“Hey guys, 10 years amateur fighter, 8 years pro-undefeated fighter, but nobody catch me, only today one guy catch me. What you talking about this? Michael Johnson thanks for everything, but what you say about 24 win streak?”
After asking Joe Rogan his take on whether he deserves a title shot, ‘The Eagle’ said, “Let’s go, let’s go chicken.”
The UFC gave Khabib Nurmagomedov an Interim Title fight at UFC 209 against Tony Ferguson. However, he pulled out after an issue with his weight cut. He returned to competition at UFC 219 and claimed his 25th career win. Three months later, ‘The Eagle’ rose to the summit of the Lightweight division overcoming Al Iaquinta.
Now, ‘Notorious’ returned to the UFC and challenged Nurmagomedov for the title he never lost. At UFC 229, in a bad blood fight that stemmed from the Irish fighter’s bus attack, ‘The Eagle’ backed up the words from his speech. He managed to make the UFC’s first simultaneous two-division Champion submit to a brutal neck crank in the 4th round.
Nurmagomedov continues to mock Conor McGregor tapping out to this day. Additionally, he is still undefeated as he enters the 12th year of his professional career. He earned the title the hard way and will absolutely look down on anybody who gets handed title shots.
Additionally, one can understand how big a draw he is as immediately after this speech, ‘The Eagle’ has featured in the Championship picture without being overlooked.
What did you make of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s memorable Madison Square Garden speech?
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