LOS ANGELES: Conor McGregor remained on course for his return to the octagon Friday when the trash-talking Irish UFC star made weight for his lightweight title showdown with Khabib Nurmagomedov.
McGregor came in half a pound under the 155-pound lightweight limit at the “official” weigh-in in Las Vegas, where a ceremonial weigh-in was scheduled in the evening.
Unbeaten lightweight champion Nurmagomedov weighed in at 155 pounds to set the stage for a Saturday bout that UFC chief Dan White predicts will smash records for pay-per-view buys.
McGregor will be returning to Mixed Martial Arts for the first time since November 2016 and stands to earn another hefty payday after pocketing around US$100 million from his cross-combat boxing bout against Floyd Mayweather, which ended in defeat.
In Nurmagomedov he faces an unbeaten champion who has so far not lost a single round in 26 career fights.
Lending even more spice to the contest is the extraordinary melee in New York in April, when McGregor was filmed hurling a dolly through the window of a bus carrying Nurmagomedov and other fighters as it moved through a loading dock at the Barclays Center.
The two have traded insults in the build-up to the fight, with Nurmagomedov huffily walking out of the final press conference on Thursday when McGregor failed to turn up on time.
Nurmagomedov, 30, began answering questions on schedule, telling reporters to go ahead with questions even though McGregor hadn’t arrived.
“I wait for no-one,” he said and 15 minutes later he departed.
“I don’t worry about him. I have a schedule,” Nurmagomedov said. “I have to make weight.”
McGregor eventually arrived to cheers, blaming traffic and venting his dislike of his opponent.
“My heart is black toward this man, towards his team, towards his people,” McGregor said, vowing a knockout victory.