UFC 229 Khabib vs McGregor: Why don’t Russians trash talk

UFC 229: Opinion

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor battle out this coming Sunday (AWST) in Las Vegas. “The Eagle” defends his lightweight title against the former two-division champion “The Notorious” in the main event¬†of UFC 229. The contest has been dubbed “the biggest fight” in the history of promotion.

The first press conference was held just over a week ago in New York. It was outlined by UFC President as the “darkest” he had been a part of.

The following might appear biased, favoring Khabib. However the idea is to present a few things about Russian mentality.

As a Belarus-born, by saying “Russian”, I am not talking about the Russian Federation (my native land is not a part of it). “Russian mentality” is far beyond geography.

This is how it works

1. Winning “mental warfare”
The “Master of Mental Warfare”, McGregor won the UFC 229 press conference, period. And yet, did Nurmagomedov lose?

I am pretty sure the answer is no. You can’t lose something you don’t have, something you are not involved in, if this makes sense.

From what I understand, Khabib attends the events, in order to comply with his UFC contract. This includes his appearances at the press conferences. That’s about it.

2. Empty Talk (Trash Talk)
English is not their native language. So, beating someone in verbal battle, is practically impossible.

In comparison, take French-Canadian Georges St-Pierre in the lead up to his bout with Michael Bisping. GSP didn’t bother and basically left the talking for “The Count”.

But even this, is not important. What important, is that Russians literally do not care.

If you measure their feeling of being uncomfortable at such events on a scale of 100, the number will likely be around 1.

So in other words, the “trash talk” simply doesn’t work on them. It is not interesting for them. And when something is not interesting for you, it doesn’t bother you.

In addition, it is not in their nature to scream out loud their opinion, even if they have one.

Such trait perhaps comes from Soviet Union, where there were two opinions. The opinion of the Party, and the wrong one.

So instead of (trash) talking, they wait for the moment to act. And we all know an old saying “Actions speak louder than words”.

3. Patience
You have certainly heard Nurmagomedov repeatedly saying that the most important is October 6 (Oct. 7 in Australia). The day of the fight, the moment when the “cage closes”.

I think, he means it.

The talk is about fighting. So what can be more important than the actual fight? Nothing.

So he waits for the moment when the punch-on is “allowed”. The rest is irrelevant.

He who laughs last, laughs best

There is a long list I could write down about Russian mentality when it comes to fighting sports, including the “ego” aspect, which basically does not exist in the old fashion gyms. You will likely get a slap from a trainer for saying “I” too much.

The upcoming bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor is, as they say, personal. As a result, the emotions are invested.

The one who gets burnt from the inside more, will lose the fight.

Parviz Iskenderov
Parviz Iskenderov is a Muay Thai fighter from Perth, Australia. He is a former National champion of Belarus, and also a finalist of IFMA European Cup. He is an editor and journalist at FIGHTMAG. Iskenderov is also the World Kickboxing Network (WKN) international coordinator for Australia.

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