Conor “Notorious” McGregor is set to make his return to the Octagon at UFC 229 where he’ll face UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov for the title belt. Millions around the world are expected to buy in to the event, which would shatter Pay-Per-View records. Here are the top ten facts and insights that make this bout so intriguing:


UFC 229 sold out in just three minutes. It’s expected to become the UFC’s second-highest grossing event ever and probably could have been first if it was held in a bigger venue than the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The UFC has done an excellent job marketing VIP tickets in addition to the 18,000 tickets that have already been sold for the event. 


Tensions between McGregor and Khabib peaked in April, when McGregor attacked Khabib, who was on a bus doing promotional work for UFC 223. Despite throwing a dolly through the window of the bus and getting arrested, McGregor didn’t serve any jail time.


Khabib is the —160 favourite to win this fight, retain his championship belt and spoil McGregor’s return. McGregor is a +130 underdog on the UFC 229 odds.


Khabib has the longest undefeated streak in MMA with 26 straight wins since turning professional in September 2008.  


McGregor hasn’t competed inside the Octagon in a professional MMA fight in almost two years. The 30-year-old briefly left the UFC to take a professional boxing match against champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather. That fight also shattered Pay-Per-View purchase records. 


In addition to his dominance inside the Octagon, Khabib has excelled outside of the Octagon as well. He’s a two-time Combat Sambo World Championships gold medalist.


Khabib once cost McGregor $3.5 million, according to McGregor’s father. When McGregor was sorting out his fight with Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, both fighters wanted a substantial payday. McGregor reportedly wanted $7 million, and Alvarez wanted $1 million. However, the UFC threatened to replace one of them with Nurmagomedov, who signed a contract for less money. Neither fighter wanted to clash with Khabib at the time, so they both settled for less than they wanted. McGregor wound up getting paid half of what he requested. 


Khabib relies heavily on takedowns in his approach. Training out of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California, Nurmagomedov already ranks fourth on the UFC’s all-time list among lightweights with 41 takedowns. 


Seven of McGregor’s last eight fights have ended in stoppages, including six knockout victories. Meanwhile, it’s been the opposite for Khabib, with five of his last seven fights ending in a judge’s decision. 


Khabib is both the first Russian and the first Muslim to win a UFC title. Born in Sildi, Russia, Khabib currently resides in Dagestan, where he began wrestling at a very young age. 


UFC 229 is trending towards 3 million Pay-Per-View buys, which should shatter the 1.65 million record buys that UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor recorded. In fact, McGregor is responsible for four of the five highest-grossing events in UFC history, with UFC 100: Lesnar vs. Mir being the only non-McGregor UFC event that ranks in the top five all-time.



*Odds as of October 4, 2018