Conor McGregor faces arguably the toughest test in his MMA career next month when he takes on undefeated Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov on Oct. 6 at UFC 229.
The fight will be McGregor’s first outing in the Octagon since he captured the lightweight belt against Eddie Alvarez back in November 2016. “The Notorious” is the betting underdog, reflecting that fact that his undefeated opponent brings a wrestling and grappling skill set that nobody has been able to deal with thus far. While McGregor should have the advantage for as long as the fight remains on the feet, his real test will come if Nurmagomedov can engage the Irishman in a grappling match.
Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping recently spoke about the match up on his “Believe You Me” podcast and expressed concern that McGregor may not be doing enough to prepare for the Dagestani’s ground skills (transcription via mmanews.com)
“The thing that concerns me if I’m pro-McGregor is that when I look at his social media and then his coach John Kavanagh, when you look at his social media and you look at what’s happening in the gym you don’t see a lot of big hardcore wrestlers that they’ve brought in specifically for this training camp. I’m not seeing that. I don’t see a lot of jiu-jitsu experts, I don’t see Dillon Danis in there, I don’t see these Russians that they’ve brought in. Now as I said, they might have brought in some Bulgarians or some Russians, or some American wrestlers but I don’t see it.”
Although the absence of elite wrestlers from the social media inside McGregor’s camp may be part of the head games, it should be noted that Danis has already confirmed he would be heading out with McGregor to train in his interview with Ariel Helwani last month.