If success can be measured in MMA by metrics other than who won the fight, former UFC ‘champ champ’ Conor McGregor may just have a point. The Irishman unquestionably lost his fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, getting smothered early, dropped, and then finally finished off despite a brief rally in the third round. Then another fight broke out.
Punches were thrown, maybe a couple flying kicks, cages were jumped. In the end, SBG Ireland seemed to get the worst of things, with McGregor taking a couple more punches and Dillon Danis finding himself the target of Khabib’s wrath.
Outside of that, McGregor did alright.
He’ll likely walk away with the much bigger paycheck between the two men, after UFC 229 - especially with Khabib’s purse being withheld currently by the Nevada Commission (NSAC). And he got the satisfaction of seeing Khabib’s teammates arrested, and having them released based on his own magnanimity. There’s even a solid chance that Khabib will lose his UFC title over the whole thing.
“We lost the match but won the battle,” McGregor wrote on Instagram following UFC 229. “The war goes on.”
McGregor has already started calling for a rematch against Nurmagomedov. However, that will likely depend on whether or not the Dagestani ends up being made an example by the NSAC. If that’s the case, then it may feel a lot more like McGregor got the better end of the whole deal, even without getting his hand raised.