UFC 229

Connor McGregor got choked out by Khabib in UFC 229 after a bland four round fight. There were some basic on the feet exchanges which consisted of a few feints, jabs and the odd overhands but all of this was pretence for an experienced grappler who was always looking for the takedown to control the fight. Khabib has done this in every single one of his fights because this is his acquired skill in martial arts. Khabib was the better fighter on the night and the antics at the end were a spill over due to the intense and often offensive build up, but I like the fact that there is someone like him with the lightweight belt because its the opposite of what the UFC want. Humble, quiet, muslim and Russian this is far from the brash outlandish persona of McGregor and of course the commercial income available with Khabib with the belt is stifled because your average fan doesn’t want to watch grappling no matter how high level it is, but they will pay to see Khabib lose. The only type of fighter to beat him is another expert grappler who can strike.

The next fight options for Khabib are Tony Ferguson (after that stunning victory over showtime Pettis), McGregor re-match (money option) or Kevin Lee. It makes the Lightweight division very interesting because there are even some dangerous heavier options in the Welterweight division just 5kg further up. Tyron, Colvy and Kamaru Usman are all potentials for Khabib as a suitable matchup if the chance presented itself. Overall I think  the UFC main event  was what’s to be expected considering the beating Khabib put on Edson Barboza who is a prolific striker in the lightweight division. That is what grapplers do to strikers, regardless of how many rolex’s they have or whiskey they produce, it was nice to see a superego humbled, and essentially a nation brought back to reality. The Russian vs Irish rivalry has surfaced it’s ugly but entertaining head and hopefully we can have more  in the ring combat to look forward to.

There are a lot of people putting down Connor McGregor but even though he lost, he carried his head high and wants to go back to the drawing board for another ultimate showdown with the soul embracing Khabib. I admire that. That warrior spirit is there in Connor and that will to be the best yearns still. I have great reverence for a man who stares into the Abyss because the Abyss will always stare back.  People who mock him have never trained, fought or competed but this sport puts heart mind and soul on the line for millions to either hate or rejoice. I think it’s amazing how he made so much money from the Mayweather fight and  he still came back to fight an undefeated expert level grappler when his base is striking. I hope for skill match up sake we see a striker figure the mystery that is Khabib’s fighting style out. It’s not a matter of who, it’s a matter of when. Someone always does. Unless he retires that is.

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