84°F
weather icon Clear

UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov walks out on Conor McGregor

Updated October 4, 2018 - 8:48 pm

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov had no time to sit around waiting for the typically tardy Conor McGregor.

So he walked out of Thursday’s news conference to promote their UFC 229 title bout Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.

Nurmagomedov expected McGregor to be late, as he almost always is for such events. The champion walked on stage and took his seat on the dais at the precise moment it was scheduled, before even UFC president Dana White was ready.

“It’s 3 p.m.,” Nurmagomedov said. “This conference is beginning. I wait for no one.”

Nurmagomedov asked if there were any questions as White came running out to take his place on stage, but the request was barely audible above raucous boos and jeers from several thousand McGregor fans.

Nurmagomedov attempted to answer questions through the rowdiness for 15 minutes before leaving.

“I don’t worry about him,” he said of McGregor. “I have a schedule. I have to make weight. Fifteen minutes I was here, and this guy didn’t come. This is a big disrespect. All your questions will be answered in two days. Just wait.”

He wasn’t interested in what McGregor had to say anyway.

“When some drunk guy talks, we just leave him in the corner and ignore him,” Nurmagomedov said.

About 10 minutes later, McGregor entered to thunderous applause, then jokingly blamed the traffic for being late.

The former two-division champion, who brought two belts with him despite being stripped by the UFC during his two-year absence, didn’t miss a beat.

He seamlessly bounced from braggadocious bluster to biting criticisms and plugs for his new whiskey. McGregor even worked in some humility when he expressed his gratitude for the fans sticking with him, and when he was asked about White saying he’s better at the mental aspect of combat sports than Muhammad Ali.

“I respect that and appreciate that, but he is a special individual,” McGregor said of Ali, his idol. “To even have my name mentioned next to that man is truly an honor, so thanks. I can’t compare myself to that great man, though.”

It was quite a change from how McGregor spoke about the man he will be locked in a cage with on Saturday.

McGregor said he hopes Nurmagomedov, who has had weight-cutting issues, uses his extra time wisely.

SHORT DESCRIPTION (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

“Just cook yourself in that sauna, you smelly Dagestani rat,” McGregor said. “Make the weight tomorrow, then show up on Saturday.

“I plan on knocking that man’s nose right into the nosebleeds. That’s what’s going to happen on Saturday night. I am going to eat him alive, and I don’t stop.”

Nurmagomedov’s early departure deprived fans of a staredown between the bitter rivals, which makes Friday’s weigh-in even more anticipated.

They did have an intense faceoff at a news conference in New York a few weeks ago, and McGregor said he got a good read on the undefeated champion.

“I saw a man that didn’t want to be there, and you saw that again today with him leaving,” McGregor said. “But the fight is close now, and on Saturday, there’s nowhere left to run.”

McGregor then posed briefly for photos with his two belts, and then it was his turn to leave.

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA and UFC coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Covering The Cage Videos
UFC's Francis Ngannou says he never doubted himself after losses - Video
UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou will face Junior dos Santos at UFC on ESPN 3 in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 29 in a bout that could determine the next title contender. After losing in a title bout to Stipe Miocic in 2018, Ngannou says he never doubted himself. He also talks about meeting former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dana White on Contender Series contracts: "I'm looking for killers." - Video
On opening night at the UFC's newest facility, the UFC Apex, the promotion signed Punahele Soriano and Yorgan De Castro to contracts after their performances on Dana White's Contender Series. UFC president Dana White explains why he signed the fighters he did.
UFC Apex is the promotion's newest cutting-edge facility - VIDEO
The UFC Apex will officially open as Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series kicks off on June 19. Here's a look at what the promotion's newest facility in Las Vegas has to offer.
UFC President Dana White on the UFC Apex, ESPN deal, when Conor McGregor could return and more - Video
UFC President Dana White gave the Review-Journal an exclusive interview where he spoke about the promotion's new facility, the UFC Apex, their new deal with ESPN, when Conor McGregor may return to the octagon and more.
Shevchenko says defending the UFC flyweight belt is her number one challenge
UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko claimed the vacant title when she defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 last December. She will put the belt on the line for the first time in Chicago, Ill., when she faces Jessica Eye at UFC 238 on June 8.
UFC title contender Jessica Eye says her move to Las Vegas gives her an edge
Ohio native Jessica Eye says she moved to Las Vegas to get an edge in performance ahead of facing UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 238 in Chicago, Ill., on June 8.
Greg Hardy, former NFL star, on MMA knockout
The former NFL star needed just 17 seconds to score a knockout on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series (Adam Hill/Review-Journal)
Marlon Moraes says Henry Cejudo will regret stepping up to bantamweight - VIDEO
UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo is coming up to the bantamweight division to battle Marlon Moraes for the vacant belt on June 8 at UFC 238. Moraes said Cejudo will regret going after a second title in a new division and added that he thinks his path will cross with former champion TJ Dillashaw in the future.
Paige VanZant details her arm injury, when she can return - VIDEO
UFC strawweight Paige VanZant was briefly linked to fight at UFC 236, but had to withdraw from the bout due to a broken arm. As a guest on the RJ Ringside Podcast, she detailed the injury and also spoke about joining the M-1 Global booth as a color commentator.
THE LATEST
Tony Ferguson beats Donald Cerrone by TKO at UFC 238

Tony Ferguson’s path to the lightweight title is becoming clear. Ferguson won by technical knockout after a medical stoppage in a lightweight fight against Donald Cerrone at UFC 238 on Saturday night.