The general consensus amongst MMA fans is that Khabib Nurmagomedov ‘smashed’ Conor McGregor in the UFC 229 main event.
The undefeated Dagestani controlled McGregor for the most of the first three rounds before eventually submitting the Irishman with a neck crank in the fourth.
According to reigning UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway, however, ‘The Notorious’ did much better than most are willing to give him credit for.
“You know what? Everybody keeps saying, ‘Oh, Conor got smashed.’ I didn’t see it,” Holloway told Luke Thomas of The MMA Hour prior to his title defense against Brian Ortega. “Yeah, in a couple positions he did, but I thought he was doing great. I thought he was doing actually pretty good. I thought they had a good gameplan going into the fight — it looked great, it looked good. It’s just, Khabib was just capitalizing. Real little mistakes Conor was doing, Khabib was just capitalizing on them.
“So I just think Khabib was just on his game a little bit more that night than anything, and it was a good fight. I think a lot of people were just saying that Conor didn’t do that good, but I thought Conor did pretty good. It is what it is. He was in bad positions, he got out of bad positions too, so my assessment of it was that he did alright.”
After putting on a striking clinic against ‘T-City’ at UFC 231, Holloway could very well move up to lightweight to pursue a rematch with McGregor. ‘The Notorious’ earned a unanimous decision win over Holloway back in 2013, when ‘Blessed’ was just 22-years-old.
Speaking to the media at the UFC 231 post-fight press conference, however, Holloway said he is ‘most excited’ about potentially challenging Nurmagomedov for the lightweight strap.
“Khabib is another undefeated fighter. I got this niche, I guess. I just gave an undefeated fighter his first loss. So maybe that one might excite me the most.”
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