Early in their careers, Khabib and Connor shared mutual respect and even expressed such admiration for each other that no one could expect their rivalry to become the most fierce in UFC history.
When the Irishman was featherless, the two men exchanged joy on Twitter before meeting and posing for a photo against McGregor’s Dustin Poiere at UFC 178 in 2014.
But everything changed in a hurricane of verbal abuse from McGregor after Khabib and his team confronted Artem Lobov, a friend and training partner of McGregor.
This led to McGregor’s infamous attack on Brooklyn’s Barclays Center during UFC 223 Media Day.
Irish fighter Khabib threw a metal trolley at a bus, causing the two fighters to pull out of their fight after being hit by broken glass.
Khabib won the lightweight title at UFC 223 and a few months later, a date was set with McGregor in Octagon.
Leading the fight, McGregor tried his best to insult Khabib’s religion and family as the attacks became more personal, increasing hatred.
At the pre-war press conference, McGregor even went after Khabib’s manager Ali Abdelaziz, bringing his son Noah.
He also laughed at his so-called friendship with Khabib and at one point their respect.
“I’m going to hit him and his glass jaw. He bought a T-shirt to support my cause, a fan.”
McGregor tapped out in the fourth round of their widely publicized clash, and the fight remains the UFC’s all-time highest-selling pay-per-view.
However, what happened after the fight was more memorable than what happened inside the cage.
Khabib jumps into the crowd and attacks McGregor’s teammate Delion Dennis, who has been insulting Khabib all night. McGregor also had several of Khabib’s teammates jump inside the octagon.
“I don’t understand how any of you can talk about what I did at the end of the fight,” Khabib said Said later.
“Before, McGregor I talked about my religion, my country and my father. When he came to Brooklyn he killed a couple of people, why should they talk about what I did today? I don’t understand that. “
Khabib retired from the game after beating Justin Gethej 29-0.
Since his retirement, “The Eagle” seems to have softened, opening the door to friendship with McGregor.
“Everything is possible,” said the Dagestani fighter promoter.
“You know, the way we fought, we can compromise. I think it’s possible, maybe not right now. Let’s see, time will tell.”
“I did my job. I responded to him in the cage. How do I explain to him? I can’t talk with what he says. I don’t speak in that dirty language.”
“I told him on October 6 I would show him everything. But about friendship, it’s possible. When God forgives us, don’t we forgive each other? I can’t say what’s impossible, but now that’s what it is.”