Daniel Cormier is praising Conor McGregor for the defensive, wrestling abilities he showcased against Khabib Nurmagomedov. But, according to the champ-champ, this actually indicates why what transpired at UFC 229, is in fact, cause for concern for the McGregor camp.
Early on into UFC 229, Khabib shot in to take McGregor down, but the vaunted striker made the galaxy class grappler work overtime, before putting him on his back. Although Nurmagomedov went on to score additional takedowns in the fight, some folks were impressed with what McGregor showed, in terms of his wrestling defense.
Case in point, recently Cormier appeared on “The MMA Hour”, and he had this to say about what went down in the UFC 229 headliner (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“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.”
This is kind of an interesting take. Chances are some McGregor supporters will argue that the fight proved he’s closed the wrestling gap with Khabib substantially, and that a rematch could be different as a result. But, Cormier went on to say that Nurmagomedov has other levels of wrestling he can still go to, and so, essentially we’d see the same thing in a rematch.
Now yes, Cormier is Khabib’s teammate, and has some biases here as a result. But, it’s another point to bolster the argument Nurmagomedov – McGregor 2 shouldn’t happen for a while yet.