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18th Sep 2018

Dan Hardy details thrilling scenario where Conor McGregor beats Khabib after three rounds

Patrick McCarry

Dan Hardy

If the main event of UFC 229 plays out like this, we are in for a treat.

Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov go at it for the lightweight title at UFC 229 at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, on October 6. Dan Hardy’s take on the fight will thrill many fight fans out there.

The fight is set to be the biggest pay-per-view event in the promotion’s history, topping the monetary take-in from UFC 202 (1.6m PPV buys), when McGregor won his rematch with Nate Diaz.

The fight is being teed up as a classic MMA contest between a proven knock-out artist and an expert grappler, and wrestler.

MMA analyst Dan Hardy joined Luke Thomas on The MMA Hour to look ahead to the fight and painted a thrilling scenario that sees both men bring our their best, but with McGregor reclaiming the belt he won in November 2016 only to relinquish in April of this year (he was stripped after Nurmagomedov defeated Al Iaquinta at UFC 223).

Thomas believes that, like Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin’s recent boxing encounter, both McGregor and Nurmagomedov are ‘going to get marked up’ before either man gets his hand raised.

“You can’t argue [about this fight] like you know for sure because nobody knows for sure,” Hardy said.

“We could get Conor switching him off in 13 seconds with a sweet left hand; we know he can do that. We know that Khabib is going to come forward because that is what we’ve seen for 26 fights now and that’s what we expect from him. So the alternative is that we see Khabib maul him for however long it takes – maybe five rounds, maybe not.

“Honestly, I’ve played this fight out in my head around 300 times a day. More than not, I get to the same conclusion.

“That is – Conor loses the first two rounds. He gets taken down, he gets beaten up, he gets bloodied. Khabib shows dominance; he’s talking to him. It’s going to be an entertaining couple of rounds with Conor being down on the scorecards, 10-9, maybe even 10-8.

“Then, in the third, Khabib starts marching forward, like he has done in the first and second,  and Conor is able to use his superior foot-work and walks Khabib onto a left hand.

“Unless we see an improvement in Khabib’s footwork, Conor has got five opportunities to knock him out. He’s got a clean shot.”

Hardy argued that ‘The Eagle’ has “elementary” foot-work and that he would need to have made significant improvements to that side of his game to survive on his feet against McGregor.

McGregor did spend much of his UFC 189 interim featherweight win over Chad Mendes on his back, but did not take on much damage and finished ‘Money’ at the end of the second round with a punishing left cross.