Khabib Nurmagomedov on Conor McGregor: 'I beat that guy with pleasure, I’ll tell you'

Khabib Nurmagomedov says the only time he's ever gotten any pleasure from beating an opponent is when he beat Conor McGregor. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Digital First Media/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)
Khabib Nurmagomedov says the only time he's ever gotten any pleasure from beating an opponent is when he beat Conor McGregor. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Digital First Media/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)

There’s no love lost between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. The two UFC stars famously faced off at UFC 229 in October 2018, with Khabib coming out the winner, but the two exchanged pointed barbs before the fight. Those barbs — some of which attacked Khabib’s religion and ethnicity — led Khabib to physically attack McGregor’s team when the fight had concluded.

The physical fight has been long over, but their war of words continues. A few youngsters asked Nurmagomedov questions about his most memorable fight and the victory he’s most proudest of, and you can bet McGregor showed up in his answers.

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“In the last couple of years, I’ve gone out there and won, and it doesn’t bring me any real joy to be honest, well, with the exception of one fight, let’s say. In that fight, I beat that guy with pleasure, I’ll tell you...”

“I had fights in my career where I understood that I could hurt my opponent more, but I’d talk to him, tell him to give up so that I don’t beat him too hard. For example, if I had a painful hold where I could break something, I wouldn’t tighten it all the way. It’d just fix it so that the opponent would tap out because I have no aim to hurt anyone in this sport. Yes we compete in a very brutal contact sport, but it’s never my goal to inflict a lot of pain on my opponent.”

“If I understand that I’m winning, I don’t aim to hurt someone bad. Well, except for one fight.”

In short, Nurmagomedov said that he doesn’t take pleasure from beating opponents, and he never tries to hurt or inflict pain on his opponents — except for Conor McGregor.

Khabib has reasons for his intense dislike (and possibly hatred) of McGregor: the Irish UFC star has repeatedly mocked Khabib’s religion, both before their major fight and since. Khabib is a devout Muslim, and hails from an area of Russia that has endured a lot of religious and ethnic persecution. It was McGregor’s denigration of Islam, as well as repeated digs at his father and an unprovoked attack on Khabib’s bus in Brooklyn, that led Khabib to jump over the cage after their fight and attack McGregor’s team.

This is what Nurmagomedov said after UFC 229:

“I’m a human being, but I don’t understand how people can talk about jumping on the cage when he talks about my religion, he talked about my country, he talks about my father and he comes to Brooklyn and he broke the bus and almost killed a couple of people. What about this?”

While McGregor has continually tried to bait Nurmagomedov into a rematch, the Dagestani has shown zero interest in another fight with McGregor. Even though he said he took pleasure from it, it’s clearly something he never wants to do again.

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