Khabib Nurmagomedov expected more from Conor McGregor in their fight, at least, mentally.
Nurmagomedov comfortably defeated McGregor with a fourth-round submission victory in their heated UFC 229 lightweight title clash back in October 2018.
“The Eagle” would go on to defeat Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje since before announcing his retirement from the sport.
Looking back at his old fights in a recent press conference this month, Nurmagomedov discussed the psychology of breaking down his opponents. He particularly noted how the fact that Poirier talked back to him while Nurmagomedov was on top of him was a sign of the former breaking down mentally.
Nurmagomedov Was Disappointed By McGregor’s Mental Toughness
As for McGregor? Nurmagomedov simply expected a whole lot more.
“Conor’s trash talk? Yes, he had talked for a while, but when I started pushing him, he immediately switched to the ‘It’s just business’ mode,” Nurmagomedov said. “I was even a bit disappointed. I expected him to be mentally tougher.
“When I was ground-and-pounding him, talking to him, and he responded that it was just business, it looked like he was trying to calm me down to avoid a real beating. Just like a son trying to justify himself in front of his angry father. Psychology is a very strong tool.”
Nurmagomedov is notably referring to the end of the third round when McGregor told him those words.
Of course, McGregor has detailed a number of times as to why his camp for the Nurmagomedov fight was not ideal whatsoever.
And while Nurmagomedov is currently retired, the Irishman will undoubtedly be hoping UFC president Dana White is able to convince him out of it for a potential rematch down the line.