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Khabib talks UFC 229 PPV numbers: ‘You should give credit to Conor McGregor’

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While Conor McGregor may have experienced some cage rust in his submission loss to undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov last month at UFC 229, “Notorious” still found a way to sell the crap out of their title fight.

Khabib’s Russian following certainly helped paved the way for massive pay-per-view (PPV) numbers, but it was McGregor’s international popularity and infamous hype skills that bumped UFC 229 up to a record-setting 2.4 million PPV buys.

Adding to the madness was a post-fight brawl between Team Khabib and Team McGregor, but the PPV purchases were in well before that melee took place.

Despite the bad blood that still lingers between Khabib and McGregor, Nurmagomedov is willing to swallow his pride and pay “Notorious” a little respect after their record-breaking superfight. After all, without McGregor at the helm, UFC 229 doesn’t even touch one million PPV buys.

“You know, you should give credit to Conor,” said Nurmagomedov during a recent interview with RT Sport (via BJPenn.com). “He is very popular. Was I as popular before the fight? I don’t think so. But if you compare us as athletes, I proved that I am better. But as a star he is much brighter than me. I don’t know how much now, but before the fight, definitely.”

While Khabib played his role and did what he needed to do leading up to the fight, McGregor was the one who produced all of the necessary sound bites and social media content to push UFC 229 into another level.

Having millions upon millions of Russian fans wanting to see McGregor fall to Khabib didn’t hurt the numbers either.

“It was also a rivalry between countries, 100%,” Khabib said. “Do you remember my statement? Irish only six million. Russians 150 million.”

As Khabib and McGregor await their punishments for partaking in UFC 229’s legendary post-fight brawl, rumors of a rematch have begun to swirl. It will be hard to justify McGregor getting another crack at a champion who just ran him over like a truck, but when the PPV numbers are this good you can’t take the option off the table.