Not everyone is familiar with Khabib Nurmagomedov. Hell, for me, just learning to pronounce his surname in a timely manner took hours of practice. To learn his whole backstory would be akin to powering through a Game of Thrones marathon, though both will fill your mind with the unimaginable, so feel free to put both on your respective to-do lists. Before I forget, sorry to all the Uber drivers who were forced to listen to me repeat the Dagestani bear child’s name, over and over, and over again…(I made sure to tip accordingly).
However, some may have heard a thing or two about the man they call The Eagle, perhaps in a conversation with someone who loves the fight game (we all got at least one friend who lives and breathes it) — they may have told you that Nurmagomedov enjoys wrestling bears, having engaged in such erroneous behaviour since he was a child…
…which brings me to the fallout surrounding the brawl that broke out following Saturday’s main event.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission, in an unprecedented move, has chosen to include a mandatory title defense as part of its punishment levied on a sitting title holder, of which Nurmagomedov qualifies as after successfully defending his lightweight belt against Conor McGregor at UFC 229.
Unfortunately, fans of McGregor will have to wait for their fearless leader’s rematch. Vaulting over him and UFC 229 winner, Tony Ferguson, is a more familiar foe to Nurmagomedov with the Russian having faced this opponent before, albeit a long time ago and in a non-sanctioned environment. Both fighters have grown substantially since their first encounter.
This time, according to the upcoming challenger’s camp – “RRRRRRRRRRRRRR!”.
That’s right folks…
Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov vs. a Full-Grown Bear.
Are you telling me you’d rather watch the undefeated prodigy dial it back with McGregor? Don’t get me wrong, that is certainly a fight I will watch, if and when it gets booked. But a goddamn bear? And one with revenge on its mind to boot!?
Step aside Conor, a presently-proper opponent awaits Khabib in the octagon. You go back to the drawing board and the fight world will collectively wait for to you re-discover your precision striking game. Then, and only then will you have any hope of stopping this Russian bird of prey.
For those screaming foul at the obvious weight variance in the upcoming title bout, the NSAC, along with the UFC, as part of the harsh punishment package served to Nurmagomedov for his Hollywood-inspired post-fight brawl last Saturday, have waived the traditional title-fight weight requirement, paving the way for a bear to challenge for the belt. If victorious, the roughly 10-foot-tall competitor will be the first of its kind to hold a UFC championship.
When asked about the decision to wave the need for a weigh-in, UFC President, Dana White, offered a simple explanation –
“You try and get a grown-ass bear to step on a scale.”
Most recent reports have the challenger weighing in at 750 lbs., though information from his camp is not easily accessible due to its remote location. We’re also told that he isn’t too keen on stepping on the scale more than he’s obligated to, having dealt with weight issues for most of his life. Recent studies have shown bears, much like human beings, get touchy when forced to come to terms with self-authored weight issues.
Odds have not yet been released for the upcoming fight-to-the-death matchup but one should expect Khabib to open as the slight betting favourite, considering his superior cardio and heavy reliance on a higher power. Still, the bear will look to end Khabib’s streak and should have an advantage in the ground game when factoring in the 600+ pound advantage he’ll enter the cage with on fight night.
– Can Khabib’s grappling prowess hold up against such a furry, fiery force?
– Will the bear engage in personal and mental warfare, after seeing the lengths Nurmagomedov will go to in the fight to protect his beliefs and values?
– Will Conor watch the fight, or will he instead lend his eyes elsewhere, in a form of passive protest?
All our questions will be answered in the coming months, once the governing bodies involved adequately sweep the UFC “dirt” under the proverbial rug, making sure to eventually use it to promote Khabib-Conor II.
I guess my only advice to McGregor would be to watch the upcoming fight. Whether your Russian nemesis wins or loses, revenge is still in order for what was mostly a one-sided defeat…
…and hey, if the bear is victorious, perhaps you’ll sport a costume for your next octagon entrance?