It’s no surprise that, in the buildup to UFC 229, and his lightweight title fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor has looked to make things personal. McGregor has taken digs at Khabib’s father, at his manager, and at some of his other, less savory associations. He also took a swipe at the ‘Eagle’’s sparring partner and teammate, UFC featherweight Zubaira Tukhugov.
The Chechen fighter has been a fixture in the Dagestani champion’s camp for UFC 229. And McGregor took the opportunity of their association to try and stoke some longstanding ethnic tensions.
“A true Chechen would never assist in a Dagestani led attack on another Chechen,” McGregor posted on Instagram along with a picture of Tukhugov, referencing Nurmagomedov’s confrontation with Artem Lobov at a New York hotel – where it’s rumored that Tukhugov insulted another Chechen fighter who was with Lobov. “A true Chechen would never take orders from a Dagestani man. This is treason. There is no worse than treason.”
All of which appears to have led to some lasting animosity on the part of the featherweight fighter. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Tukhugov sat down to talk about his training camp with the champion, and to touch on his upcoming bout with Artem Lobov at UFC Moncton later this month. Knowing that McGregor is likely to be in attendance to support his longtime friend and teammate, Tukhugov is apparently hoping that he can use the opportunity to talk to the Irishman, in person.
“Yes. He put my picture on Instagram, with a little bit of shit about me,” Tukhogov said. “This is never. After my fight with Lobov, I see McGregor? I ask him, ‘Tell me now. I am here.’ If you are a man – if you’re a Chechen man, American man, Ireland man – you tell him [to his face], ‘No put Instagram. No message.’ 10,000 kilometers, in Ireland or America, put up Instagram, message, shit? This is no problem. After fight with Lobov, okay, tell me to my face. I want to fight outside. No cage, outside, after Lobov. I tell him. And after my fight, I show him.”
UFC 229 takes place this Saturday, October 6th, in Las Vegas, NV. There, McGregor will have his own opportunity for a face-to-face confrontation with the man that threatened his friend and brought him across the Atlantic to throw a hand truck at a bus. Whatever the outcome of that fight, if he’s in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada on October 27th, he may find himself still dealing with the fallout.