Conor McGregor And Khabib's 2014 Twitter Exchange Shows It Could All Have Been So Different
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Unless you've had your head in a bucket listening to Radio 4 on full blast since the wee small hours of Sunday morning, you've probably encountered a lot of the news surrounding the big fight at UFC 229 between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Well, actually, it's the second fight that has most people talking. Khabib won the sanctioned bout pretty handily, tapping Conor out with a choke hold in the fourth round.
After that, all hell broke loose, Khabib went into the crowd to attack Conor's team, Khabib's team invaded the ring to attack Conor. Pretty unedifying scenes for those who believe in the legitimacy of MMA as a sport.
However, what do you expect when the whole hype surrounding the fight was so ill-tempered? There were taunts, personal insults, and even a bus attack that ended up in a New York criminal court. It was obvious that it was going to kick off.
But it didn't have to be like that.
In fact, back in 2014 Khabib and Conor were actually pals. Well, sort of.
Cast your mind back all of those years, Conor McGregor had just won the fight that catapulted him into the big time against Dustin Poirier at UFC 178.
After the fight, he posed for a photo with another fighter - you've guessed it - none other than Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Khabib posted on Twitter: "With CONOR McGREGOR after his unbelievable victory at UFC 178,"
How times change...
Next morning, Conor himself responded: "I love it champ!! The Russian Bear!!"
It doesn't end there either. Earlier that same month - September 2014 - Conor was releasing a new batch of t-shirts.
Khabib again tweeted 'The Notorious' and said: "Hey Conor, I'm in Vegas when you come let me know, I want you gave me this shirt"
@TheNotoriousMMA @Dethrone_Dan @ufc Hey Conor, I'm in Vegas when you come let me know, I want you gave me this shirt
- khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) September 9, 2014
Again, Conor replied: "Let's do it brother!! I fly out to Vegas tomorrow!! Hit me up and we can train."
@TeamKhabib @Dethrone_Dan @ufc Lets do it brother!! I fly out to Vegas tomorrow!! Hit me up and we can train :-)
- Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) September 9, 2014
It's safe to say that offer is off the table now.
The only training that they are going to be doing is for another fight against each other. After the fight, Conor tweeted to say: "Good knock. Looking forward to the rematch."
Good knock. Looking forward to the rematch.
- Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 7, 2018
That's if they'll let them. It will almost definitely not be in Nevada. The Nevada State Athletics Commission withheld Khabib's payment and is looking at footage from the fight's aftermath.
There's also a decent chance that the UFC might suspend Khabib for his actions post-fight.
Or, perhaps it's all a ruse and they're still the best of mates, just out to make a load of money by making people think they hate each other.
It's more likely that they just hate each other though.