Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Conor McGregor for the UFC lightweight title at this weekend’s UFC 229 is — according to Dana White — trending to do three million pay-per-view buys. The match-up between two special (and divergent) characters has a lot to do with that, but so to has the trash-talk and mental warfare McGregor has introduced to the bout.
Submission Radio are on the ground covering all the angles ahead of this historic fight. While there they caught up with former UFC bantamweight champion, and current UFC analyst, Dominick Cruz.
They asked Cruz if he thought that McGregor’s mind games had affected the historically stoic Nurmagomedov. Cruz, who is well known for his own trash-talk game, said that Nurmagomedov is a fighter who isn’t typically affected by such tactics. And though Cruz did concede that some of McGregor’s words did seem to land on Nurmagomedov, he said that the Dagestani is probably too well prepared for them to make that much of a difference.
Check out Cruz’s full comments in the video above and the transcript below:
“I think Khabib is one of the intangibles that it doesn’t really affect. But there’s some things that Conor said that it did affect him. And he’s just so good, honestly, so confident in himself and what his abilities are, that I honestly don’t think that the mind game is as big of a thing as it’s been in the past for this particular match-up. However, Conor did say some things that shined a light on Khabib that people are gonna dig into. And that might cause a little uncomfort, but I’m pretty sure Khabib’s got all his I’s dotted and his T’s crossed for some reason.
Cruz was also asked about what part of Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor was most intriguing to him, personally.
“The most intriguing part to me is to see how Conor adjusts to that level of grappling, or if he even has to. So, that’s it. That’s literally the most interesting part to me. Is his striking, as a one-dimensional fighter in that sense, because it’s so powerful he can be one-dimensional, and not even have to grapple somebody who’s 26-0? And you don’t even have to grappled him, you’re that good? This guy’s never been stopped on a takedown, but you can stop him from even creating a grappling exchange? That’s shocking to me. And then if Khabib can get the takedown, has Conor ever felt that level of grappling ever in his life? Ever? We’ll find out.”
Submission Radio also asked Cruz about the co-main event, Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis. Specifically, Cruz was tested on what he thinks might happen if one of those men are moved to the main event on Saturday night.
“I think that if you’re making Conor McGregor money, which he’s making more money than anybody in the UFC, you fight anybody on that day on planet earth. Doesn’t matter. If you’re making let’s say TJ Dillashaw championship money or maybe even Tyron Woodley money, you kind of think about it, because you’re not making as much. You gotta be smarter. We’re not making 20-million dollars, 30-million dollars. We’d be lucky to make one million. So, you’re gonna tell me to just pick a fight on a whim for 500,000-dollars? Yeah, I get that. But Conor can do it easily because he’s making 30-million, he’s got a hundred million in the bank. So, you gotta really look at how much money are you getting in your fight and how much money is the other person getting in the fight? And we are prize fighters and our body is on the line. So, while you can save the show, and I think as a champion it’s your duty to save the show at times, it depends on the match-up. If I’m facing somebody for 200,000 dollars and he’s a lefty, so he’s in a southpaw stance, and then in two days’ notice you try to give me a right-handed wrestler that doesn’t throw a punch, like, how am I prepared for that? And then you’re only gonna pay me the same money? Or, ‘alright, we’ll give you 30,000 more’. Give me a couple million and I’ll take on whoever you put in front of me. So, that’s where I think things get misconstrued and you say, ‘this guy’s tough and this guy’s not’. No, this guy’s making money and this guy’s not. That’s the truth of this matter, and out bodies are on the line. Don’t forget that. Nobody else’s is. Ours.”
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