Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC 229 blew the roof off T-Mobile Arena last Saturday night (Oct. 6, 2018) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Alexander Volkov, who was knocked out cold by Derrick Lewis after being just a few ticks away from winning the fight (see it).
And Anthony Pettis, who saw his night cut short after a broken hand forced his corner to throw in the towel, putting an end to a thrilling Lightweight bout against Tony Ferguson (relive it here). But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?
It has been two years since Conor made history by becoming the promotion’s first champ-champ after putting on a dazzling performance against Eddie Alvarez to capture the lightweight title. So his comeback fight after an extended hiatus brought out the fans, media, and sponsors in droves, as everyone was out to get a piece of “Notorious.”
But no one wanted some of Conor more than Khabib Nurmagomedov, as he’s been patiently waiting to put hands on the mouthy Irishman after Conor stormed Barclays Center, destroyed a bus, ruined an event, all in hopes of getting at “The Eagle.”
The lead-up to the fight delivered, as Conor was in full form during the pre-fight press conferences, though Khabib didn’t have time to play his games. Conor did his part — and then some — to build up the fight, in order to deliver on the 2.5 to 3 million pay-per-view (PPV) buys he and Dana White predicted.
Once the opening bell rang, however, it was all Khabib, as he took it to McGregor in the grappling department to no one’s surprise. In an interesting plot twist, Conor couldn’t do anything to Khabib in the standup department, as the Dagestani fighter stood in front of him throughout rounds two and three, even dropping him with a crushing right hand. But it was all Khabib through and through as he was never in any danger, winning every single round before sinking in a face-twisting neck crank that forced Conor to tap for the second time inside the Octagon (highlights).
It’s not the return Conor and his followers had in mind, as he simply had nothing for the undefeated (27-0, 11-0) 155-pound champion of the world. As for what’s next for “Notorious,” he’s already pining for a rematch against “The Eagle,” but that is very much clouded in uncertainty, as Khabib will have to answer to Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for going crazy after the event, which could lead to a long suspension, and the stripping of his title.
As much money and interest as a rematch would draw, an instant do-over simply doesn’t make sense when looking at the big picture, as the loss was as clear as day with no judging drama, no controversy (at least scoring wise).
As for what should be next for “Notorious,” perhaps taking on the loser of the upcoming bout between Nate Diaz and Dustin Poirier is in order. Conor has history with both men, beating Dustin and splitting a pair of fights with Diaz; so the bouts sell themselves. They may not be the sexy title fights Conor is looking for, but it’s the most realistic scenario.
Speaking of title fights, don’t be surprised if Conor chooses to drop down back to Featherweight to challenge the winner of the upcoming title fight between Max Holloway and Brian Ortega. Something, I’m sure, UFC wouldn’t be opposed to.
Just don’t let this fight be an option.