LAS VEGAS – Khabib Nurmagomedov received a personal phone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin following his victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 229.
Nurmagomedov (27-0 MMA, 11-0 UFC) defeated McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) by fourth-round submission to retain his lightweight title Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The now infamous post-fight brawl took away from a dominant performance, but it didn’t go unnoticed by Putin.
Prior to the fight between Nurmagomedov and McGregor being officially booked, “The Notorious” went to Russia to attend a World Cup game in July and met with Putin. They took a photo together, McGregor called him “one of the greatest leaders of our time,” and unsurprisingly, McGregor attempted to use that to throw shade at Nurmagomedov in the lead-up to the fight.
Nurmagomedov got the last laugh, though. He not only won the fight, but he said he spoke with Putin on the phone at the conclusion of the contest.
“All media talk about this, he take picture with Putin, something like this,” Nurmagomedov told reporters, including MMAjunkie, at the UFC 229 post-event news conference. “He just call me, and he say he very proud of me. I win, and he say, ‘Congratulations.’”
The bout between Nurmagomedov and McGregor was arguably the most personal in UFC history. The post-fight brawl was a consequence of the discontent between the two athletes, but ultimately Nurmagomedov proved himself to be superior inside the octagon when he outworked McGregor for more than 18 minutes before forcing the Irishman to tap out.
For Nurmagomedov, it was mission accomplished.
“I told you guys, ‘Everything is going to change 6th of October,’” Nurmagomedov said. “And I do this.”
For complete coverage of UFC 229, check out the UFC Events section of the site.