The lightweight championship clash between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor is shaping up as perhaps the biggest bout on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s calendar for 2018.
After plenty of rumors and speculation, the organization announced that Nurmagomedov will defend his lightweight crown against McGregor in the UFC 229 headliner at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Oct. 6. Such a blockbuster bout would seemingly require some special promotion, such as the world media tour that preceded the featherweight title clash between McGregor and Jose Aldo in 2015.
That international press tour took the two rivals across eight cities and five countries over the course of a little less than a two-week span, and did wonders to build hype for the fight. Of course, the tour was intended to promote a bout at UFC 189, but after Aldo was injured, the Brazilian and Irishman didn’t square off until UFC 194 at the end of the year.
Given the relatively short timeframe between when the fight was announced and when it takes place, the UFC won’t hold a similar tour for Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor.
“We don’t have time for a world tour,” UFC President Dana White said on Saturday night. “These guys are gonna fight the first week of October. Both guys are gonna go into camp. I’ll do something fun. We’ll do different stuff. I’m literally having a big meeting on Monday to get all this stuff in order.”
Tension has been building between Nurmagomedov and McGregor since before the “Notorious” one was stripped of his lightweight crown. But interest peaked when McGregor attacked a bus carrying multiple UFC fighters – including Nurmagomedov – and employees at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn ahead of UFC 223. McGregor hurled a dolly through one of the bus windows, seemingly in retaliation for a confrontation between Nurmagomedov and and SBG teammate Artem Lobov earlier in the week.
McGregor had to resolve his legal issues as a result of the incident before the bout could be booked, but he was able to reach a plea agreement that allowed him to avoid jail time. When McGregor and Nurmagomedov are in proximity to fulfill their media obligations, White is confident that further catastrophe can be avoided.
“I’m pretty confident that we can control what happens,” he said. “What happened in New York obviously if you look at when that happened, everybody was loading onto the buses, everything was done and our staff still handled it pretty damn well for what was going on and how it went down. Obviously now we’re very aware and ready for any of that. Nothing is going to happen. We’ll be good.”