UFC lead commentator Jon Anik hinted that Conor McGregor may have had some backstage issues before his UFC 229 defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
McGregor was soundly beaten by the undefeated Khabib inside four rounds and did not look his usual confident and cocky self inside the octagon despite his frequent verbal assaults on the Dagestani fighter during the fight’s build.
Jon Anik, who of course had a ringside view of the action, suggested on the Anik and Florian podcast, that there was something not quite right with the Notorious One in the immediate lead up to the fight, praising how Khabib handled the pressure.
“Say what you want about his actions after the fight but everything up until he finished Conor McGregor, in my opinion, from Thursday, September 20 – which was the first face-off in New York City – to Herb Dean pulling him off of Conor, Khabib handled himself brilliantly.
“He just dismissed that narrative and then some. He made me feel like I wasted a whole lot of hot air talking about how he would handle that moment and on the other side, I thought Conor looked great all week.
“But all of a sudden on fight night, it seemed like his colour was gone, his confidence didn’t seem there, the smile wasn’t there, there were maybe some rumblings about some things or some circumstances backstage but Khabib handled the fight part of this with flying colours and proved that he probably is the most dominant force in the game, as advertised.”
Most fight fans will certainly say that McGregor looked off his game at UFC 229, and perhaps it was to do with the realisation of the task ahead of him, although Anik suggests that it may have been down to the “chaotic” scenes he was told about that occurred backstage before the fight.
No not injured. I was just told it was unnecessarily chaotic back there, lot of people coming in and out of the locker room. He also got wrapped by a cutman who hadn’t wrapped him before supposedly, which, while no big deal, still deviated from his norm. That’s all.
— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) October 10, 2018
At no point did Anik mention where he had heard of the chaos backstage but as someone so close to the action it would be understandable that he would be privy to such information.