Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans, at least those who have been paying attention, understand that mental warfare is as much a part of Conor McGregor’s training camp as hitting the mitts or practicing the jits.
That’s why so many eyes were glued to the UFC 229 press conference last week in New York City (watch it) and why several days later, debate rages on as to how effective “Notorious” was in breaking the spirit of his opponent.
According to American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) head coach Javier Mendez, Khabib Nurmagomedov was unshaken by the Irishman’s verbal blitzkrieg and already prepared for the usual tricks when negotiating their title fight.
“We talked to Khabib right before the fight was made,” Mendez told MMA Fighting. “We said, ‘Look, he's going to play with you, he’s going to hit every button — religion, politics, family.’ That’s his game, he’s a master at it. Khabib wasn’t rattled at all. Slightly agitated? Yes, but it didn’t work. It did not work. Who won the staredown? Who won the talking? Conor did the talking, so he won that. But overall, everything, Khabib won.”
The media opportunities ahead of their UFC 229 pay-per-view (PPV) title fight have been few and far between. Not because the fight sells itself (it does), but rather because the “champ-champ” does whatever the f—k he wants.
We’ll see if winning the UFC 229 press conference helps “The Eagle” fly past McGregor when the cage door closes on Oct. 6, 2018 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, though we still have the weigh ins to get through before that happens, which includes their second (and final) face off.
T-minus eight days.