It was the second time he had retired, as well as the second time he had retired via Twitter. In April, less than a month after claiming he was done fighting, McGregor was under investigation due to a confrontation he had with a patron of a pub in Dublin, Ireland. At the time, not much was known about what exactly transpired between the MMA superstar and the elderly man he was accused of attacking, but now we have a video that shows the entire sad saga. One of the men at the bar turned down his offer, but McGregor insisted. The man once again declined and it was then that the fighter took a swing at the man and appears to have landed a glancing blow on his face.
My pulse beats solely for this fight. I am obsessed. Hook it to my veins. I want it. All of it.
I want to bathe in this fight. And in the 21st century, with all the technology and content platforms at my disposal, I can bathe in this fight. In some ways it is a fight I can't escape. Even if I wanted to. Which I don't. McGregor versus Khabib. It takes place Oct. Khabib is not only unbeaten in 26 fights but, according to most, hasn't lost a single minute of a single round in the octagon.
It's almost certainly the most compelling fight the UFC has ever made. A strange, multifaceted spectacle with layers of narrative attached.
It's a tale of extremes: McGregor, the brash, charismatic Irishman with a penchant for picking the round and method by which he will dispose of his opponents. Khabib, the humble yet destructive Dagastani Muslim.
McGregor, the clean, inventive counter-striker with knockout power in his left hand. Khabib, the overwhelming wrestler who suffocates opponents with top pressure. It's a fight that has everything: Drama , histrionics , skill , stakes. This is a title fight in the UFC's most competitive division, between two world class fighters that despise one another.
In April this year McGregor launched a dolly through a bus window because Khabib was sitting inside. From all angles it's the most important fight in UFC history.
I cannot stop thinking about it. And engaging with it. Everything in my digital life is currently set to McGregor vs. And I mean everything. The algorithms are coalescing and I am being indulged on every possible level in the worst possible ways.
Here's what my days currently look like. I wake up. I grab my iPhone. Before I say hello to my wife I check the MMA subreddit to make sure Khabib and McGregor are injury free and the fight is still happening last minute cancellations and injuries have become a mainstay in the UFC over the past few years.
Then I get ready for work. I put my headphones on and while walking to the bus stop I listen to multiple MMA podcasts for insights about the fight: stylistic quirks, things to look out for. Will McGregor's subtle footwork make it difficult for Khabib to get into wrestling range?
Will Khabib comfortably walk him to the cage, wrestle from the clinch and obliterate him on the floor?
This is a unique fight where every take is possible and trust me, I have listened to every take. Eventually I'll hop onto the bus. If the podcast is good, I might keep listening.
If I get a seat I catch up on YouTube. I'll watch Embedded, the UFC's fly-on-the-wall documentary series. I'll watch fan-created hype trailers. I'll watch breakdown videos. Yes, this morning I livestreamed this.
I have a problem. Khabib machine.
I track the news as it happens. Conor posts a training montage on Instagram, I watch it and study every frame. I hit "translate" on Khabib's Russian tweets. I ask myself questions: "Could McGregor have stuffed that single leg takedown? I read terrible comment sections analysing every flinch.
Is McGregor in Khabib's head? Is McGregor motivated? Is McGregor too motivated? Is Khabib nervous. Is McGregor drunk? The answer is "probably". There are YouTube videos delving into the minute psychological details of McGregor's staredown technique. I am not joking about this.
I am ashamed to say I have watched them. I have watched everything.
Conor McGregor versus Khabib Nurmagamedov is a 21st century fight and I am consuming it in the 21st century way. The sheer density of the content, my ability to consume it in such a tremendously granular way -- none of this would have been possible 10 years ago.
Or even five years ago. This isn't just a fight, it's a conduit through which platforms deliver content.