There has certainly been more than a few fighters who have said they believe Khabib Nurmagomedov will defeat Conor McGregor at UFC 229. But according to one of the latter’s teammates, “real fighters” aren’t going with the lightweight champ.
Due to the magnitude of this Saturday’s bout, many fighters have been asked in the preceding weeks for their thoughts on the contest. As it stands right now, the betting lines have Nurmagomedov as small favorite over McGregor, and that seems to echo the thoughts we’ve heard from fighters. In other words, even when Khabib has been picked to win, there’s often been a follow up comment noting how dangerous McGregor is.
Well, recently McGregor’s teammate at SBG, Cian Cowley, appeared on the Eurobash podcast. While discussing this weekend’s fight, and predictions fighters have made, he said this (quote via MMA Fighting):
“People are so quick to forget about Conor’s ability, where he has been, the fights he has been in and the level of opponents [he has faced]. Every time he’s been matched against these lads it’s always the same bollocks talk…
“Think about it: the Mayweather fight and all that’s happened since then….the Alvarez fight must be two years ago now. He’ll be a different fighter now than he was then. That’s a long time ago. He’s matured as a fighter, especially after what he’s been through with Mayweather. He had the 30 minutes with Mayweather and he had the whole camp involved with that fight…that’s different level type sh*t.”
“…There’ll always be the jackasses giving it this and that, you’re never going to get rid of them. The real ones will know, the real fighters. I think the real fighters know now, to be honest. If you look at anyone who came out and said anything about the fight, the real solid fighters that don’t claim to be this and that, they’re all saying what’s going to happen. The real ones know and everyone will know on Saturday.”
There you have it. Now, chances are not everyone’s thinking along the same lines here as Cowley. After all, one of the fighters who has said he believes Nurmagomedov is going to win is Georges St-Pierre: one of the greatest fighters of all time. GSP did note, however, that Khabib gets hit, and that he’s had some trouble closing the distance on certain opponents. So, it’s not like he’s necessarily saying McGregor’s going to get crushed.
Saturday night is going to be intense, to put it mildly. UFC 229 will be hosted by the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.