Khabib Nurmagomedov’s victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 229 and the controversial scenes that followed will make the Russian “an even bigger legend” to some people but “a bigger enemy” to others, says MMA analyst Robin Black.
Nurmagomedov retained his lightweight belt with a dominant fourth-round submission of McGregor in Las Vegas – although the win was largely overshadowed by an ugly mass brawl afterwards.
READ MORE: ‘I begged God for one thing – to leave me in the cage with this clown’ - Khabib Nurmagomedov
MMA analyst Robin Black, who had a clear vantage point of the unfolding turmoil in Las Vegas, says that while the dominant nature of Nurmagomedov’s victory was unquestionable, the aftermath will polarize opinion of the undefeated lightweight champion.
“Khabib is going to be an even bigger legend to some, and enemy to others, and that is a powerful thing,” Black exclusively told Eyes On Events Sport.
The Russian fighter – who returned home to a hero’s welcome in front of thousands of fans in Dagestan on Monday – is facing sanctions from the Nevada state authorities over his role in the brawl. He has also had his $2 million fight purse withheld.
“This will always be a part of his life story now,” Black added on the incidents in Las Vegas.
“For some people they will be even more behind him, because now we’ve elevated the battle between him and Conor McGregor, and others are going to judge him harshly. There will be some fans who don’t support him now.
“But the overall effect of it is going to make him an even bigger name, it’s going to make more people interested.”
The statement appears to have been borne out by the massive global interest in Nurmagomedov following his win over McGregor, with the fighter adding 3 million followers to his Instagram account within the space of 24 hours.
READ MORE: Khabib adds 3mn Instagram followers in just 24 hours after UFC win over McGregor
While his fame was previously largely confined to MMA circles, his name has now been reported far and wide – which Black says puts him in a stronger position to dictate terms of a potential rematch with ‘The Notorious’, who has already said he is keen to face the Russian again.
“If Conor McGregor wants to fight him again, Khabib might make 10 times the money, if that’s what’s important to him, 10 times the celebrity,” Black added.
“That is the reality in today’s world, people respond very, very intensely to these things.”
READ MORE: What next for Khabib Nurmagomedov & Conor McGregor after UFC 229 turmoil?