On October 6, in the main event of the blockbuster UFC 229 card, former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor will make his anticipated return to the Octagon for a showdown with undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
In the buildup to this fight, we haven’t seen nearly as much of the Conor McGregor trash talk we’ve grown accustomed to. That being said, the Irishman has taken a few shots at Nurmagomedov — even if they’ve been subtle.
One of McGregor’s latest jabs at Nurmagomedov occurred on Instagram, where he made an under-the-radar response to one of Nurmagomedov’s posts. See the pair’s exchange below (h/t Cillian Cunningham of Pundit Arena).
“Step by step” Khabib Nurmagomedov said in a recent post.
“Step by step you are getting stepped on,” Conor McGregor said in response to Nurmagomedov’s post.
It’s certainly not the kind of venomous trash talk we’re used to from McGregor, but it’s something. And with the first press conference for UFC 229 scheduled for this Thursday at 5:00pm, there’s bound to be plenty more where that came rom.
Conor McGregor has not competed since August of 2017, when he came up short in a headline-dominating boxing match with undefeated legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. His most recent MMA bout occurred in November of 2016, when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez to capture the UFC lightweight title. Because he still held the UFC featherweight title he swiped from Jose Aldo at the time, this made him the first fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two weight classes concurrently. He’s 21-3 overall.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s last fight occurred in April, when he captured the UFC lightweight title with a decision defeat of last-minute replacement opponent Al Iaquinta. The title was quietly stripped from the long absent Conor McGregor on the same night. With this title win over Al Iaquinta, Nurmagomedov improved to a flawless 26-0 overall — one of the most impressive records in MMA.
Who do you think comes out on top when Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor collide in the UFC 229 main event?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/16/2018.