The final faceoff before the UFC 229 main event was worth the wait.
Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor were unable to get on the same page at a press conference on Thursday, with Nurmagomedov leaving the premises before a late McGregor could arrive, but their confrontation at Friday’s ceremonial weigh-ins made up for the lost time.
After the two hit the scales to pose for the packed crowd at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the same site where Nurmagomedov will defend his title against Conor McGregor in Saturday’s headliner, they were brought together to face off and McGregor was first to break UFC president Dana White’s request that there be no physicality.
McGregor slapped down at Nurmagomedov’s outstretched fist, then while the two were being separated, he threw a straight kick past White, who was attempting to hold him back.
Following that brief scuffle, McGregor took the microphone to address the crowd and warn host Joe Rogan not to interact with Nurmagomedov.
“Don’t let that smelly rat put that hat on your head, Joe,” McGregor said. “The smell of that f**king thing. Don’t ever let him put that hat on your head.
“It’s good to be back. UFC fans, it’s good to be f**king back. The king is home.”
Up next, Nurmagomedov was given a chance to speak and he had a message for the large contingent of McGregor supporters who were audibly booing him.
“Tomorrow night, I’m going to smash your boy, guys. I’m going to smash your boy,” Nurmagomedov said. “And I want to say thank you all Irish fans, all fans around the world. Because of you guys, this fight is happening. Thank you guys and tomorrow night, inshallah, and still.”