Speaking on the Talk and Talker podcast recently, Khabib Nurmagomedov defended Conor McGregor’s antics at Bellator 187 when it was just jumping into the cage, but once McGregor began going after Goddard, he crossed the line.
“My very good friend fought for a big organization in Europe at 57 kgs, 125 [pounds]. When he win, I do same s**t. I come inside and I hold him because I’m very happy. I’m jumping on the cage, I come inside. A lot of people come inside, my friends, my teammates, because we’re very happy but when referee tells me, ‘Hey, you guys have to go out,’ I don’t try to fight with him because I know referee is not professional fighter, he’s referee. I have to respect rules. But I go crazy a little bit after I understand, ‘Hey, this is not good. I have to stop this,’ and I try to tell my friends, my teammates that we have to go out.”
“Sometimes this happens and this organization disqualification 30 percent of his money, but it’s okay. It’s okay. This organization has rules and when we come to the organization we have to follow this. We have to follow rules. So sometimes this happens but I don’t understand why he tried to fight with referee. I don’t understand it.
“One time, if you try with him it’s okay but you see these guys don’t want fight with you and he cannot fight with you. Why would you try more and more? I don’t understand this one. When you come to inside the cage because you’re very happy about your friend’s win, it’s okay but try to fight with referee, this is not good.”
McGregor has a bit of a history with Goddard, he was the official who ordered him to leave cageside because of McGregor’s antics during Artem Lobov’s fight with Andre Filli at UFC Gdansk. McGregor also has a history of jumping into the cage, celebrating Lobov’s win on The Ultimate Fighter by jumping into the cage and ripping his pants. For Nurmagomedov, this history of acting out is reason enough for the UFC to “humble” McGregor.
“Yes, it’s okay, but not all the time. He does this all the time. In Ultimate Fighter show, in Bellator show, I don’t understand why he can do but other guys cannot do. Because he’s Conor McGregor? He cannot do this. The UFC has to make him humble a little bit because other guys say, ‘Oh, Conor do this? He can do this but why I not?’ This is why sometimes you have to follow rules when you’re a big name, because a lot of people are watching you.”
“When you jump inside the ring, okay, but when you try to fight with referee, this is not good.”
McGregor not only targeted Goddard, but while he was trying to get back into the cage after being escorted out, the lightweight champion slapped a Bellator staffer, and this, more than anything, seemed to be the most egregious of offenses to Nurmagomedov.
“Why he don’t slap me when we go very close like UFC 205? Because he understands I don’t stop. Maybe he slaps him because he understands he’s not fighter, he cannot give him back.
“I never slap somebody if this guy cannot fight with me. . . You cannot fight with me. I can kill you. I can punch you and I can take you down and smash your face. You have to stay relaxed. Sometimes you have to say this because you’re a professional athlete and you can kill people.”
Nurmagomedov began calling for a fight with McGregor after submitting Michael Johnson at UFC 205 last year, saying he wants to “fight with your chicken because this is number one easy fight in lightweight division.” Instead, McGregor went on to box Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Nurmagomedov pulled out of an interim title shot against Tony Ferguson due to weight cut problems. Now, Nurmagomedov faces third-ranked Edson Barboza at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas, Nevada.