Undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) will defend his belt against former two-division title holder Conor McGregor (21-3) on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

UFC 229 McGregor Nurmagomedov
Conor McGregor will look to reclaim the lightweight title when he takes on undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. (Image: Isaac Brekken/Getty)

The fight marks McGregor’s first UFC fight since his TKO victory over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November 2016.

Khabib Won’t Wait for Conor

Since that time, McGregor has been stripped of both his lightweight and welterweight titles due to inactivity, but remains the biggest draw in UFC. According to UFC president Dana White, the fight is on track to break a number of records for the company, and could generate about 3 million pay-per-view buys.

On Thursday, Nurmagomedov and McGregor were scheduled to speak at a news conference with White. When McGregor didn’t show up to the Park Theater at the 3 pm scheduled start time, Nurmagomedov chose to begin talking to reporters on his own.

“I don’t need to wait for nobody. This is 3 pm. Fans is here, media is here, everybody is here,” Nurmagomedov told reporters. “This conference has to begin because I have schedule. I have to make weight. I have to worry about myself.”

By the time McGregor had arrived, Nurmagomedov was off the stage, drawing criticism from his challenger.

“I tried to get here. I’m only a couple minutes late,” McGregor said. “He doesn’t want to be around me. He doesn’t want to be around these people. He is petrified.”

While the two men may have avoided each other at the new conference, White had no worries about getting some extra pre-fight publicity for his main event.

“They’re gonna see them face off [Friday at the weight in], when it really counts,” White told reporters. “When we know that they both made weight, they’re both mentally wherever they are after these weight cuts going into Saturday.”

The fight will see a clash of styles: while McGregor is the superior striker on his feet, Nurmagomedov is a ground-and-pound specialist who is simply dominant once he gets fights on the ground. Bookmakers favor the champion, with Bovada making Nurmagomedov a -160 favorite to retain his title.

Pettis Expects War with Ferguson

In the co-main event, No. 2 lightweight Tony Ferguson (25-3) is taking on No. 8 Anthony Pettis (21-7) in a fight that could put the winner in line for a title shot against Nurmagomedov-McGregor winner. According to Pettis, the clash should produce a special fight for fans.

“I think his jab is probably his most powerful weapon,” Pettis told reporters. “He dictates with that very well, creates his range, and once he finds that jab range, then he opens up. So I feel like he’s the perfect opponent for me to have a great fight. And the same thing for him. We’re gonna have a war out there.”

Ferguson enters the fight as a -340 favorite, while Pettis can be backed at +260 odds.

Earlier in the card, contenders Ovince Saint Preux (+190) and Dominick Reyes (-240) meet in a light heavyweight matchup, while Derrick Lewis (+140) takes on Alexander Volkov (-170) in heavyweight action.