Is UFC 229 headliner Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor really the biggest fight in UFC history? Without a doubt McGregor is the UFC’s biggest star ever, by far. And as he gets ready to return against the 26-0 unbeaten lightweight champion and wrestling powerhouse Khabib Nurmagomedov, it makes for quite an intriguing matchup.
Maybe it is the “biggest fight in UFC history” as it will pit the promotion’s biggest star against a mixed martial arts fighter who has gone 10-0 inside the UFC octagon, not an easy feat to do, but it isn’t unheard of. Personally it doesn’t feel as big as some of the classics like Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture or Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz back in the day.
However, maybe I’m just old and a bit nostalgic. But when you talk about big fights, it’s star vs. star, and frankly, Khabib’s star has not yet risen. If he demolishes Conor McGregor in impressive fashion, maybe that will put him over. But if he tries to wrestle and hold him down for five rounds, that’s not going to do it in my opinion.
Bovada currently has Khabib the favorite at -175 and Conor the underdog at +145. There was a rumor that Conor had brought in wrestling gold medalist Jordan Burroughs to help him prepare for the Russian Sambo master he will be facing on Oct. 6 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. But it appears it was just a rumor.
Conor will clearly have the advantage on the feet and if he can keep it standing long enough to do what he does best then “The Notorious” will be able to reclaim the 155-pound gold he never lost. But keeping it standing is certainly going to be easier said than done against Khabib.
Here’s the full lineup as it stands for UFC 229:
- Lightweight Championship: Khabib Nurmagomedov (c) vs. Conor McGregor
- Heavyweight bout: Alexander Volkov vs. Derrick Lewis
- Welterweight: Ryan LaFlare vs. Tony Martin
- Women’s Bantamweight: Lina Länsberg vs. Yana Kunitskaya
- Flyweight: Sergio Pettis vs. Jussier Formiga
- Light Heavyweight: Ovince Saint Preux vs. Dominick Reyes
- Women’s Strawweight: Michelle Waterson vs. Felice Herrig
- Bantamweight bout: Sean O’Malley vs. José Alberto Quiñónez