Zubaira Tukhugov's first strike landed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship cage in two years may be his last, as he confirmed on Instagram that it was he who entered the Octagon on Saturday after the fight between his teammate Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor and confronted the Irishman before slapping him “as promised.”
As his teammate won the fight, Turkhugov was a spectator in the crowd. Once the melee ensued he jumped into the cage and made a bee-line for the Irishman.
“I slapped him as promised,” said Tukhugov. “I promised to make him answer for his words and I did.”
Tukhugov also denied being hit by “The Notorious,” as some fans have claimed after looking at the footage.
“Tell everyone who thinks I was hit, where?” Tukhugov said. “Where, nothing. Just this cop pushed me away, on the video, as if I was hit, in short. Not missed, was not even close.”
Tukhugov is under contract with the UFC but has not fought since losing by split decision to Renato Moicano at UFC 198 in 2016. The 27-year-old Chechen featherweight has been out of action ever since, serving a two-year suspension by USADA after testing positive for ostarine.
Tukhugov is scheduled to face McGregor’s Russian born team mate Artem Lobov on Oct. 27, 2018 at UFC Fight Night 138. However, it will remain to be seen whether that booking stays the same, as UFC President Dana White said he would cut any UFC fighters who were discovered to have taken part in the in-cage melee.