MMA

Conor McGregor reveals two key mistakes as he breaks down Khabib Nurmagomedov defeat round-by-round

Conor McGregor has offered his deepest insight yet into his defeat against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 earlier this month, and pinpointed two crucial mistakes that he made that led to him losing only his second match in the UFC.

The Irishman returned after nearly two years away from the UFC to face lightweight champion Khabib, who had emerged as one of the most dominant fighters in the sport in McGregor’s absence.

The build-up to the bout at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena saw McGregor launch a verbal tirade against the Russian over his heritage, religion and family – something that ultimately led to a post-fight brawl between their two camps that has dominated the news agenda ever since. Both will be due to appear at a Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing on Wednesday, where sanctions are expected.


Khabib vs Conor McGregor





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Amidst the fallout from the ugly scenes immediately after McGregor submitted in the fourth round, what actually happened in the fight has gone relatively under the radar – until now.

McGregor posted a lengthy message on his Instagram page that broke the fight down round by round, and pinpointed where he went wrong. In the message, McGregor acknowledges that the second round, in which he was knocked down to the canvas by Khabib, was the “worst round of my career”, and also notes the a key decision in the fourth round caused his defeat.

But he also believes that “from a fight standpoint” he won the first and third rounds, which would have put him ahead going into the fourth had it not been for the knockdown.

Here’s how McGregor broke down the fight:

Round 1

“I believe from a sport standpoint, round 1 was his. Top position against the fence. Zero position advancement or damage inflicted. But top position.

“From a fight standpoint the first round is mine. Actual shots landed and a willingness to engage. Straight left early. Knee to the head on the low shot. Elbows in any and all tie up scenarios. Opponent just holding the legs against the fence for almost the entire round.”

Round 2

“He is running away around the cage before being blessed with a right hand that changed the course of the round, and the fight.

“It was a nice shot.

“After the shot I bounced back up to engage instantly, but again he dipped under to disengage. That is the sport and it was a smart move that led to a dominant round, so no issue. Well played.

“If I stay switched on and gave his stand up even a little more respect, that right hand never gets close and we are talking completely different now. I gave his upright fighting no respect in preparation. No specific stand up spars whatsoever. Attacking grapplers/wrestlers only.

“That won’t happen again.

“I also gave my attacking grappling no respect. To defence minded.

“Lessons: Listen to nobody but yourself on your skill set. You are the master of your own universe. I am the master of this. I must take my own advice.”

Round 3

“After the worst round of my fighting career, I come back and win this round. Again walking forward, walking him down, and willing to engage.”

Round 4

“My recovery was not where it could have been here. That is my fault.

“Although winning the early exchanges in 4, he dips under again and I end up in a bad position with over 3 on the clock. I work to regain position and end up upright, with my back to the fence.  A stable position.

“Here however, I made a critical error of abandoning my over hook at this crucial time, exposing the back, and I end up beaten fair and square.”

McGregor has been advised by some areas of the UFC to retire from the sport, having made millions from his career as well as his excursion into the squared-circle in his boxing defeat by Floyd Mayweather last year.

But the Dubliner penned a six-fight deal with the UFC ahead of his showdown with Khabib, and the end of his message left it in little doubt that he will be seen in the Octagon again in the near future, regardless of if it’s a rematch against Khabib or a bout with the likes of Nate Diaz, Tony Ferguson or Jose Aldo.

“What can I say?” he added. “It was a great fight and it was my pleasure. I will be back with my confidence high. Fully prepared.

“If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line. It’s all me always, anyway. See you soon my fighting fans I love you all.”

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