Conor McGregor is beginning his mental warfare against Khabib Nurmagomedov and those around him as their UFC 229 headlining bout draws near.
On Friday night, the Irishman used an Instagram post to mock Nurmagomedov and his father/coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
“[Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov] I can see you. Cowering behind fake respect,” McGregor wrote. “Just like your middle child. A quivering coward.”
McGregor had been quiet since the announcement of the UFC 229 headliner, which takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Oct. 6. It’s possible that McGregor’s post was in response to a video featuring Abdulmanap where he said McGregor wasn't the true lightweight champion. McGregor captured the belt with a stoppage of Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November 2016 but was stripped of the crown earlier this year for inactivity.
“I think Conor understands that he wasn’t the real champion at 155,” Abdulmanap said previously. “He only fought against two lightweights and one of them choked him out. When he took the belt, there were about six lightweights who were stronger than him. There are a lot of fighters who deserve a title shot more than Conor. For example, [Dustin] Poirier. He can keep a high pace. He tries to finish opponents. Poirier is the real contender.”
McGregor hasn’t competed since that bout. He took a lucrative boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in August 2017, earning a reported $100 million for a 10th round TKO loss against the pound-for-pound great. McGregor faced multiple charges for attacking a bus carrying multiple UFC fighters, including Nurmagomedov, in April ahead of UFC 223. “The Notorious” one reached a plea deal to avoid jail time, ultimately clearing the way for the showdown with his Dagestani rival.