Today I was invited to the World Cup final as a guest of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This man is one of the greatest leaders of our time and I was honored to attend such a landmark event alongside him. Today was an honor for me Mr. Putin. Thank you and congratulations on an amazing World Cup. Россия вперёд!
While the match itself had a lot of talking points including pitch invaders, an own goal and the first use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) at a final, there were also a few keen Ultimate Fighting Championship stars in attendance that could be facing each in other in the Octagon by the end of the year in Irish superstar Conor McGregor and current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
While the Irish national football team didn’t qualify for this year’s tournament in Russia, McGregor was invited to the World Cup final as a guest of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Nurmagomedov’s Russian team defied the odds by making it out of the group stage, defeating 2010 world champions Spain in the round of 16 before being knocked out in a penalty shootout against eventual finalists Croatia in the quarter finals.
The world cup final marked the first time McGregor and Nurmagomedov were in the same stadium together since the ugly incident back in April this year at the Barclays Center in the lead up to UFC 223 where McGregor and a group of men attacked the fighters bus Nurmagomedov was on as they were being taken to a media event.
McGregor threw a loading dolly at the bus, shattering one of the windows injuring Ray Borg and Michael Chiesa, who were both forced off the UFC 223 card due to injury. “The Notorious” was charged with assault and criminal mischief and his legal team are currently negotiating a plea deal to resolve the criminal charges with the Irishman set to return to court on July 26.
Depending on the outcome on July 26, the highly-anticipated fight between McGregor and Nurmagomedov for the lightweight belt is rumored to be announced shortly after the verdict with the fight to take place in November.
McGregor has not competed inside the Octagon since November 2016’s TKO victory over Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title and was stripped of the title before the UFC 223 event in April after failing to defend his belt. At that event, Nurmagomedov went on to claim the title by dominating his short notice replacement Al Iaquinta over five rounds winning comfortably by unanimous decision.