Conor McGregor may have just lost in conclusive fashion to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, but he is already yearning for a rematch.
The Irish striker, who was returning to the sport after two years away from the octagon, challenged Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight championship title at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, October 6, but was dominated throughout the contest and eventually submitted with a neck crank in the fourth round of an eventful fight.
Despite the heavy defeat, he wants to do it all again.
“Good knock,” he said on Twitter, four hours after the fight had finished. “Looking forward to the rematch.”
Not everybody in the industry is convinced the fight warrants a follow-up.
The UFC commentator Joe Rogan reportedly said “there’s no need for a rematch” as it was so clear who had won. “The fight was very clear,” Rogan said, according to ESPN journalist Chamatkar Sandhu. “Khabib dominated the fight, won the fight by submission. There’s no need for a rematch.”
The bout, exciting as it was, got overshadowed by Nurmagomedov’s controversial actions immediately after finishing McGregor.
The Russian jumped the octagon fence and reportedly charged at McGregor’s cageside friend Dillon Danis. A big brawl broke out in the stands, and punches were exchanged in the octagon itself, as McGregor was attacked by a member of Nurmagomedov’s entourage.
Three arrests were made and UFC boss Dana White even said those involved were “on their way to jail,” but he later added that the police released them as McGregor refused to press charges.
“The real question now is, does the UFC strip Khabib?” Rogan said, according to Sandhu. “Does the Nevada State Athletic Commission fine him and not allow him to compete again?”
McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh said on Twitter that the ending was a “shame” but marvelled at the “historical night.”
He said: “Another historical night. Amazing atmosphere, technical fight with excitement all the way through. All that makes MMA a great sport. Shame about the ending. On to the next one.”
Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, apologised to the Nevada Athletic Commission and to the entire city of Las Vegas, but said that Russia president Vladimir Putin had called to tell him he was “very proud” of him.
He then posted a photograph on Instagram. “When Allah is with you, nobody can broke [sic] you,” he said. “Nobody.”