Khabib Nurmagomedov made relatively handy work of Al Iaquinta in UFC 223’s main-event and wasted no time in calling out Conor McGregor directly afterwards.
With UFC 223 now firmly in the rearviewmirror, we can finally move on from a week that will no doubt go down as one of the most insane and unpredictable in the history of the sport of mixed martial arts.
Pullouts, lineup switches and a cameo or two from a certain Irishman were the talking points by the time we reached Saturday morning and with such an unprecedentedly wild fight-week, it was easy to forget that we still had some actual fights to get to grips with. Thankfully, when the action was through after last night’s event, it was clear that the show had delivered.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s character has been the subject of much praise this week after what seemed like an endless stream of opponent-switches and uncertainty but in defeating Al Iaquinta in the manner he did in the night’s main-event, he managed to prove to the world that he is in an exclusive category of his own, a category reserved for the likes of Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone (as Dana White put it), for those within the game who truly are committed to fighting anyone, no matter what the circumstances.
It was a thoroughly impressive performance from the Russian, one that saw him resorting to his jab perhaps more often than we would have thought but when all was said and done, he wasted no time in calling out two men he wishes to share the octagon with in the future, Conor McGregor and Georges St-Pierre.
“Iaquinta is real Brooklyn gangster. This is not about chicken. Where’s Conor? You want to fight with bus? Iaquinta is real Brooklyn gangster. Now, I want a fight with Georges St-Pierre in Madison Square Garden. Madison Square Garden, November.”
St-Pierre, of course, hasn’t fought since his Madison Square Garden victory over Michael Bisping at UFC 217 but with him on the sidelines indefinitely due to his ongoing struggle with colitis, only time will tell if Khabib will get his wish and face off against the legendary welterweight.
As for Conor McGregor, a lot more on that front will become clearer as we move into next week.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena