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Midnight Mania! Rogan, Cormier agree McGregor shouldn’t rematch Khabib anytime soon

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In separate interviews, UFC co-commentators Joe Rogan and two-weight UFC champion Daniel Cormier both agreed that rematching Khabib Nurmagomedov maybe shouldn’t be Conor McGregor’s focus right now. Cormier’s take is that he was so impressed with McGregor’s grappling that he wasn’t sure the Irishman could do better a second time around. Via MMAFighting.com:

“Honestly man, that first takedown, I was like wow, he really made [Nurmagomedov] work for this takedown,” Cormier said. “Because this is what we say at AKA — we try to get you lost in the sauce. We want to get you lost in the sauce, right? Like, when we’re on a leg, we want to give you one [takedown attempt]; okay, you’ll defend; two, you’ll defend; three, then you start going, ‘okay, wait a minute,’ then you start to get lost. You get lost in all the different transitions, from to move to move to move, and eventually we get you down. And once we get you down, obviously it’s very difficult to get back up.

“[McGregor] didn’t get lost in it. Like, Khabib had to go to level four to get that first takedown. He went high crotch, he went crackdown, he went ‘try to get the angle,’ he tried to run the pipe, then he actually had to go to his knees, look across the back to get to a double just to get Conor down the first time. Conor didn’t get lost. He really did a good job, and that’s why if you’re Team McGregor, there’s cause for concern, because I don’t know if he could do that any better and he still got beat in the way that he got beat.

“That’s why, I think if you’re Team McGregor, you’d be concerned about a fight with Nurmagomedov, because I don’t think he could defend any better,” Cormier continued. “I thought was as good as [he could do], because he did a good job and I don’t know if he could do it any better … because then [Nurmagomedov] is going to go to level five, and he going to go to level six, and he’s going to just keep putting different things behind each other until eventually you kinda can’t keep up. That’s what Henry Cejudo does. That’s what he did to DJ a couple times to get those takedowns.

Cormier is Khabib’s teammate, so his insight is interesting even if he isn’t quite unbiased. McGregor’s surprisingly good grappling performance but flat performance in the striking department could make sense if McGregor was mostly sparring grapplers in his fight camp, for instance.

Joe Rogan had a similar, but distinct take, via mmanews.com:

“There’s all this talk about a Conor rematch cause financially that would be a fantastic fight, right?” Rogan said on his podcast on Monday. “Financially. But when you look at what happened, that was a dominant victory. There was one round where Conor did pretty good, the third round. Other than that, Khabib just sort of dominated him.

“Dropped him in the second, beat the f–king s–t out of him in the fourth and the third was the round where Conor did pretty good cause most of was standing up. But it wasn’t like he won it running away. It wasn’t like he blasted him in the body and had him hurt. There was nothing like that. He edged him.”

Rogan admitted McGregor has shown marked improvement before, in his rematch with Nate Diaz. But he doesn’t see enough parallels to take away a title shot from Tony Ferguson, who has won 11 straight fights at this point and was abruptly stripped of his interim belt after a freak injury to his knee.

“I guess you could say that’s sort of what happened in the Nate Diaz fight and Conor came back and won the rematch. This is the argument,” Rogan said. “Conor was rusty, he’s out of the cage for two years, he gets back in, let’s do [a rematch] and then financially I mean Jesus Christ, it was the biggest fight of all time. They’re saying it was above 2.4 million pay-per-view buys, which is f–king bananas. So that’s huge. If they could talk people into a rematch, I get it.

“But I don’t want to see that. I want to see Tony [Ferguson]. I want to see Tony and Khabib.”

Cormier also noted that he understood Khabib’s ire and his outburst after the fight, through the lens of his own grudge matches with hated rival Jon Jones.

“I think, Conor, he was building a fight, and there was just a little bit of a difference in the approach,” Cormier said.

“When he was building the fight and kinda going home going, ‘Okay, yeah, I think that might’ve gotten him a little bit,’ or, ‘that got under his skin,’ the whole time it’s causing this guy (Nurmagomedov) to just go, ‘God, I hate him. Man, I can’t stand this dude. I want to hurt him,’ then going back to the gym and training harder and more. So, that’s where the difference lies. It’s like, we (Jones and I) never regretted anything we said to each other or about each other, and it was okay if it just continued to escalate.”


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