Khabib reveals what Vladimir Putin said to him after the Conor McGregor fight
The anticipation for UFC 229 was palpable amongst UFC fans over the last month, as Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov came to verbal blows in the build-up to their fight. Before they even stepped in the octagon, their rivalry became quite intense, with McGregor's unique personality out in full force, taunting his opponent in front of crowds of fans.
During their first press conference, McGregor called Khabib a "fanboy b**ch," "little rat, little weasel," and a "mad backwards c**t". He also said, referring to the infamous incident in which McGregor smashed a window of a coach carrying Khabib, that he was fortunate he got away so easily:
"I just thank the Lord Jesus Christ that that man doesn't have the balls to step off that bus ... this man would be dead right now.
"He would be in a box and I would be in a cell and we would not have this great fight ahead of us."
Khabib kept his cool throughout all of this, but definitely didn't on Saturday night. McGregor tapped out in the fourth round, but immediately after his victory, Khabib leapt into the crowd to attack one of his opponent's crew members, who had (according to Khabib) repeatedly insulted him, his family, country and religion.
However, despite the fact that Khabib hasn't come out too well from the fight, with his $2 million payday withheld during an investigation into what happened, he did receive some good word from Vladimir Putin. According to Nurmagomedov, he received a phone call from Putin to congratulate him on his win.
Khabib explained this in a post-match talk, as well as referencing a photo McGregor took with the Russian President in July this year.
"He [McGregor] took a picture with Putin, but Putin just called me and told me he is proud of me," he said. "And he said congratulations.
"I told you guys, everything I'm gonna change this 6th October - and I do this."
During this same conference, the Russian fighter both defended his actions and apologised to the Nevada Athletic Commission - who are currently investigating what happened that night:
"I want to say sorry to the Athletic Commission, and sorry to Vegas; I know this is not my best side.
"But I don't understand how people can say I jumped on the cage. He talked about my religion, my family; he came to Brooklyn and could have killed people on the bus. Why are we talking about me climbing on the cage?"
UFC president Dana White has confirmed that Khabib will not receive the $2 million he was promised for the fight until the investigation has been completed. Two men who jumped into the octagon and attacked McGregor were confirmed to be UFC athletes Zubaira Tukhugov and Islam Makhachev, who White said would never fight again for the company.
In the aftermath of the chaotic brawl, three men were arrested and subsequently released when McGregor chose not to press charges.