Were Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor friends before becoming rivals?

The two fought at UFC 229 in one of the most memorable bouts

By Web Desk
March 23, 2024
A young Khabib Numragomedov (L) poses with Conor McGregor (R). — TalkSport/File

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) boss Dana White insisted that Khabib Numragomedov and Conor McGregor were “not friends” before becoming bitter rivals.

A picture of young Khabib with McGregor often surfaces on social media which makes the fans believe that the two were once close friends but as per White, it was never the case.

While they have always had mutual respect, White insisted that there never was a friendship between them.

“Their rise was at the same time, White told former New England Patriots star Julian Edelman on the Games With Names podcast.

“The problem you are talking about when people say 'they were boys', they were never really boys it was like a mutual [respect], you are dealing with two hardcore alpha males.

“These guys are both killers. They both want to be the best. They both wanna win and they are both willing to fight anyone and do anything to be the best.

“So, when you get those two types of guys there’s no being buddies. Those two are on a collision course before they even knew they were,” he added.

Khabib and McGregor used to exchange friendly messages on social media in 2015 which changed into meaner conversations in some time but things got physical in 2018.

After Khabib along with his team cornered McGregor’s ex-friend ahead of UFC 223 in April 2018, the Irishman laid an infamous attack on the bus carrying the Russian and others.

McGregor was arrested and sentenced to community service for a violent conduct as he also smashed the bus window. However, following their increasing altercations, the two were booked for a blockbuster fight at UFC 229 in October 2018.

A lot of trash talks and personal attacks took place before Khabib finally managed to defend his lightweight belt after beating McGregor with a fourth-round submission win.

The Irishman kept on trash-talking even after suffering the defeat and asked the Russian to do a rematch, but Khabib retired in 2020 without entertaining McGregor’s request.