The tension between the pair is palpable. It escalated after
Nurmagomedov physically confronted McGregor’s teammate and friend
Lobov in the hotel lobby in the lead-up to UFC 223 in April,
which prompted the infamous retaliation by the Irishman when he
attacked the bus the lightweight champion was on days later.
McGregor seemed worked up at last week’s UFC 229 press conference,
the first time the pair came face-to-face.
According to coach Owen Roddy,
however, McGregor doesn’t harbor any ill will towards his opponent
and after the fight regardless of the outcome will shake his hand
and show him the respect he deserves.
“I think maybe the situation just got out of hand or something like
that,” Roddy said in an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “What
happened happened. But I think when Conor fights anyone, he goes in
there with the intention, like, he doesn’t look at it as
(personal). He’s going in there to put the person away, no matter
what. So that’s not only with Khabib, that’s with everybody.
“He’ll respect him afterwards, and he’ll give them the credit when
it’s due after fights, like he’s done with the likes of Poirier,”
Roddy added. “He’s talked very high about Poirier, and Diaz, and
all of these fighters. And everyone that he’s fought, he’s given
them credit. But when you’re in his way, he’s in there to put you
away. So he’s like that with everybody.”
Roddy was asked if McGregor’s brand of mental warfare, which has
proved the downfall of many of his opponents in the past, will
throw Nurmagomedov off his game plan.
“No, not really, to be honest,” Roddy said “But if he does stand,
it’ll be over very, very quickly, I believe. But I think Khabib
will come in with the game plan he has for everybody, which is:
shoot for dear life. And for me, that’s the only chance he really
has. And he’ll have to stand. The thing is, you start standing. So
he’ll have to stand. And if he’s there for an extended period of
time, it’s very, very dangerous for him.”