LAS VEGAS — Perhaps the biggest fight in UFC history will commence as Khabib Nurmagomedov defends the lightweight title against former two-division world champion Conor McGregor in the main event of UFC 229.
The animosity between the two is at a fever pitch. Their Sept. 20 press conference didn’t include any fans inside Radio City Music Hall in New York City out of safety precautions. The presser resulted in verbal jabs being thrown left and right, ranging from political to personal barbs in nature, and ending with security on stage to accompany their tense staredown.
Nurmagomedov (26-0) is regarded as the most dominant fighter in the UFC, defeating every opponent who has come in his path with his suffocating wrestling. The native of Dagestan won the undisputed title, beating Al Iaquinta in the main event of UFC 223 this past April.
McGregor (21-3) will be fighting in MMA for the first time in 23 months. He last captured the lightweight title via a win over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November 2016 to become the first fighter in UFC history to hold two belts simultaneously. In between then and now, McGregor participated in a boxing match, losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August 2017 by 10th-round TKO.
Nurmagomedov and McGregor had always been respectful to each other through the years. But everything changed the week of April’s UFC 223 event, when Nurmagomedov and his team surrounded McGregor’s close friend and teammate, Artem Lobov, resulting in the lightweight titleholder smacking Lobov in the back of the head.
Seeing what happened, McGregor and his associates hopped onto a plane from Dublin, Ireland to Brooklyn, the site of the event, to confront Nurmagomedov. Things didn’t go the way McGregor wanted them to, as he stormed into the loading dock of the Barclays Center to look for Nurmagomedov. McGregor wound up throwing a dolly through a bus window, intending to hit Nurmagomedov, but injuring fighters Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg, instead.
McGregor ended up getting arrested. In July, McGregor pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct as part of a plea deal with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. McGregor was sentenced to five days of community service and ordered to attend one to three days of anger management training.
Will the biggest star in combat sports be able to dethrone the most dominant fighter in the UFC?
Sporting News will be live inside the T-Mobile Arena and provide blow-by-blow coverage of what should be a historic night of action.
(All times Eastern.)
UFC 229 results
SN will have updates as we get closer to the first bout of the evening.
UFC 229 fight card
- Khabib Nurmagomedov (c) vs. Conor McGregor for Nurmagomedov’s lightweight title
- Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis; Lightweight
- Ovince Saint Preux vs. Dominick Reyes; Light Heavyweight
- Derrick Lewis vs. Alexander Volkov; Heavyweight
- Michelle Waterson vs. Felice Herrig; Women’s Strawweight
- Sergio Pettis vs. Jussier Formiga; Flyweight
- Aspen Ladd vs. Tonya Evinger; Women’s Bantamweight
- Lina Länsberg vs. Yana Kunitskaya; Women’s Bantamweight
- Scott Holtzman vs. Alan Patrick; Lightweight
- Gray Maynard vs. Nik Lentz; Lightweight
- Ryan LaFlare vs. Tony Martin; Welterweight
UFC 229 latest news
– Georges St-Pierre tells SN why he thinks it’s “60-40” Khabib Nurmagomedov beats Conor McGregor.
– SN discusses whether a victory at UFC 229 makes Conor McGregor an all-time great.
– McGregor says the feud with Khabib Nurmagoemedov will never end.
– Is time running out for former interim lightweight titleholder Tony Ferguson?
– In the mood to win some money? We breakdown the best UFC 229 odds.