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Conor McGregor sends heartfelt condolence and congratulations to UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov

Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, UFC

Former UFC fighter Conor McGregor is the latest high-profile athlete to weight in on lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s shock announcement that he was retiring, following his victory over Justin Gaethje.

Gaining his 29th victory over Gaethje with a second-round knockout, the undefeated Khabib made the decision to retire following the death of his father, and long-time trainer in July due to complications from COVID-19. Though he did not reveal to the world that Saturday would be the last fight of his career until moments following the match, Khabib explained that he made the promise to his mother that the fight would be his final one.

Though certainly less surprising than Khabib’s retirement, McGregor’s decision to voice support for Nurmagomedov is noticeable given the torrid history between the two. Having fought in in 2018 in what was dubbed “the biggest fight in UFC history” up until that time, the match–and subsequent victory by Khabib thanks to the submission by McGregor in the fourth-round–was overshadowed by a brawl that broke out between the two’s camps following the match. With accusations of “bigotry” fueling what had already been termed “bad-blood” between the two, the moment scarred what had been a resounding success for the association in drawing record ratings.

Two years later however, and it appears that at least some of that tension has dissipated.

With Saturday seeming to be the last time we see Khabib in the cage, McGregor has claimed he is open to returning to the octagon to face Dustin Poirier, despite making a similar retirement “announcement” in June.