Conor McGregor will challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov for his UFC lightweight title at UFC 229 on Oct. 6, 2018, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
It already is being called the biggest fight in UFC history. That’s a moniker we’ve heard plenty of times in the past. But this time, it’s probably not just hyperbole. McGregor, from Ireland, is the sport’s biggest star. Nurmagomedov, from Russia, is the unbeaten champion.
Here’s a look at how we have arrived at Conor vs. Khabib.
Tony Ferguson, the UFC’s interim lightweight champion, pulls out of his fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 in Brooklyn on April 7 with a knee injury. Nurmagomedov uses this opportunity to call out the reigning lightweight champion Conor McGregor. His tweet is met with no response from McGregor.
Where are you now? @TheNotoriousMMA— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) April 1, 2018
A video surfaces of a verbal confrontation between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Artem Lobov, a friend and teammate of Conor McGregor. Nurmagomedov and Lobov exchange words at the hotel in Brooklyn as both were in the hallway during fight week. It is unclear what was said or what caused the confrontation.
At the pre-fight news conference, UFC president Dana White says McGregor will be stripped of his lightweight title after never defending since he won it on Nov. 12, 2016.
After the UFC 223 media day concluded, Conor McGregor and a group of his people, including Artem Lobov, storm into Barclays Center and run into an elevator. Shortly thereafter, McGregor and friends run out of Barclays Center and into a waiting SUV. In between, however, McGregor is captured on video (Watch here. Warning: strong language used) attacking a bus full of UFC fighters. On that bus is Khabib Nurmagomedov. McGregor throws a hand truck at the bus and shatters a window, with parts of that broken glass injuring Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg and preventing them from fighting that Saturday. Lobov is removed from his fight that weekend. Just before midnight, McGregor turns himself into police custody.
“This is the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of the company,” UFC president Dana White says.
Conor McGregor is arraigned in a Brooklyn criminal court, along with teammate Cian Cowley, for his actions in the melee at Barclays Center.
At the UFC 223 press conference after the ceremonial weigh-ins, Khabib Nurmagomedov has to answer questions about the incident as well as his new opponent, Wantagh’s Al Iaquinta. “Send me location,” Nurmagomedov says about wanting to face McGregor. It becomes something of a tagline for Nurmagomedov fans and headline writers.
Khabib Nurmagomedov wins a unanimous decision over Al Iaquinta to become the undisputed UFC lightweight champion. After the fight, UFC president Dana White confirms that Nurmagomedov is the promotion’s sole champion at 155 pounds.
Conor McGregor appears in a Brooklyn court for a hearing. The appearance lasts around a minute and the next court date is set.
Conor McGregor, along with Artem Lobov, attends the FIFA World Cup final in Moscow as a guest of Russian president Vladimir Putin. “This man is one of the greatest leaders of our time and I was honoured to attend such a landmark event alongside him,” McGregor wrote on his Instagram account.
Khabib Nurmagomedov also attends the World Cup final and posts this photo on his Instagram account.
Conor McGregor accepts a plea deal that dismissed felony and misdemeanor counts stemming from the April melee at Barclays Center. McGregor pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct violations and must perform community service, attend anger management classes and pay damages for the bus. The plea keeps McGregor out of jail and maintains his ability to fight in the United States.
Speaking to media at UFC on Fox 30 in Calgary, Khabib Nurmagomedov said of fighting Conor McGregor: “I want to change his face.”
At the UFC seasonal press conference in Los Angeles, the Conor McGregor-Khabib Nurmagomedov fight officially was announced in dramatic fashion to close out the event. Ticket pre-sales begin Wednesday, Aug. 15.
Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov faced off (without a bus in between them) for the first time at a news conference at Radio City Music Hall. The scene was chaotic, even without any fans allowed in the building. McGregor was his usual boisterous self, with targeted personal attacks that showed he did his homework mixed in amid the insults he hurled at Nurmagomedov. Was the champion from Dagestan rattled? If so, he didn’t show it. Oh, and McGregor used much of the news conference to promote his new whiskey.
In the least shocking bit of news of fight week, Conor McGregor showed up late to the pre-fight press conference. Khabib Nurmagomedov didn’t care. “I have a schedule,” Nurmagomedov said. “I have to make weight. I have to worry about myself. If someone is late, it’s not my problem.” He answered questions and left the stage before McGregor showed up. UFC president Dana White later called the move “brilliant.”
After all the back-and-forth comments about “mauling” and “devastating KO” and the like, and amid thousands of amped-up fans, things got a little chippy at the ceremonial weigh-ins between McGregor and Nurmagomedov.
Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov finally entered the octagon to face each other in the “biggest fight in UFC history.” Nurmagomedov submitted McGregor in the fourth round. Then things got interesting. Months of insults turned into a melee as Nurmagomedov scaled the cage and jumped to the arena floor to go after Dillon Danis, a close friend and cornerman of McGregor who was yelling at the lightweight champion. Two members of Nurmagomedov’s entourage then climbed into the octagon and started throwing punches at McGregor.
We lost the match but won the battle.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 8, 2018
The war goes on. pic.twitter.com/CRtPaGfOnn
Conor McGregor wants a rematch. He begins the next round of verbal sparring on Monday on social media. The “battle” reference also may indirectly relate to the fact that McGregor received his full purse from the Nevada State Athletic Commission while Nurmagomedov has his purse on hold pending NSAC’s investigation and potential charges.