The matchup between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor has been painted with the broad brush that is two fighters with markedly different styles matching up in a clash for the ages. Whilst McGregor is given huge kudos for his striking ability, Nurmagomedov is more known for his grappling and wrestling. Given the difference in strengths of the two fighters there has been a war of words between the two camps, trying to salvage their fighter’s reputation in holding their own in their less-preferred discipline.
We have had McGregor’s striking coach, Owen Roddy come out and say that McGregor will make a mockery of Khabib’s chin if his defence isn’t up to scratch. We have also had the Russian’s camp come out saying that McGregor’s lack of stamina will see him fade quickly and if the bell rings for a second and third round, Khabib will take him to the cleaners. In terms of strategy and propaganda put out by the respective teams, we have seen videos and posts emerge showcasing the two fighters’ training regimes.
They both have been seen to focus on their weaker discipline, broadcasting to the world that they each possess the ability to contest the fight wherever it leads on the night. But in a little bit of a backflip from this, Nurmagomedov’s coach Javier Mendez has come out spectacularly, saying of the upcoming bout:
Khabib’s head coach Javier Mendez:
“Jesus Christ, you think he’s going to fight Nate Diaz? You think we are going to stand with Nate Diaz? You think we have a chance against Nate Diaz? You think, I think that? For God’s sake, no way. Now way in hell are we going to fight with Conor’s stand up too.” “Everybody’s got a different game plan. If you don’t change the game plan according to what’s going on, you are going to get checkmated. This is not all the time about the best fighter. Sometimes it is about the best fighter, yes. But, it is also about the game plan. If you don’t do it right, you can get in trouble.”
Whether this is an actual admission of Khabib’s lacking in the striking department, or classic misdirection is a bit of a mystery at this point. With less than 6 weeks until the showdown, it is unlikely that the Russian will be able to get close to Conor’s level, but who knows what will happen on the night.