Chael Sonnen believes a McGregor vs Nurmagomedov rematch could be very different to UFC 229
He was outfought, outclassed and outmanoeuvred, but don't rule out Conor McGregor if he secures a rematch against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Those were the sentiments shared by MMA expert Chael Sonnen nearly two days after UFC 229.
Sonnen predicted Khabib before Saturday's event claiming that he would wear McGregor down before getting his back and submitting him in round three. This almost came to pass, as the fight ended in round four.
When analysing the fight via his Facebook page, Sonnen believes that a rematch between the pair could be very different to what we saw on Saturday.
Sonnen felt McGregor for a start came in a little cold citing that there was no sweat on his body, which would be unusual.
Khabib's wrestling was the obvious factor that let McGregor down on the night, but Sonnen (who himself is a high-levle wrestler) believes that the SBG man actually excelled when it came to the main elements of wrestling defence.
"As I wrestler I can tell you guys how perfect Conor's defence was.
"Conor had accomplished the really big things, he accomplished getting his hips low, turning an angle when Khabib was in on the leg, he accomplished reaching over to that far ankle, slowing him down, frezzing that position, he accomplished that. Those are the big things."
Sonnen felt that the smaller, finer details let McGregor down on the night, and ultimately proved him downfall, but he believes that these things can be fixed.
"The small things, prying on the elbow, how he's going to get the pressure, to push on the head to free his leg up. Those are the small things that can be fixed."
"Conor accomplished and succeeded in stopping the big things, now it's the small details he didn't do which is why I offer to you if they where to rematch and Conor knowing what he knows now.
"I just believe he could fix some for those small things to make the wrestling more difficult.
Among other things, Sonnen cited the heart and determination McGregor showed surviving a difficult second round, and then bouncing back to win the third (Khabib's first time ever losing a round).
He also touched on the pre-fight narrative that Khabib wasn't an elite striker, claiming that 'The Eagle' is as proficient as anybody when it comes to the stand-up. He also felt that McGregor was dropped because he had his hands down and that would happen to anyone who fights with their hands down and chin up.
Overall, 'The American Gangster' believes that Conor McGregor is such a rare athlete that he could turn this around in time if he was to get a rematch against Nurmagomedov.
"You give Conor a little bit of time, he can perfect things, he is a rare athlete, he can perfect them in lightning speed compared to other people.
"You don't have to look any further than boxing. He had about eight months where he knew that was going to happen.
"He went from an amateur boxer to going 30 minutes with the greatest of all time."
"If he can do that with his striking... it would be very reasonable to conclude that he can do that with his wrestling and know he knows where those weaknesses are."