When Conor McGregor finally steps into the Octagon this weekend for the long-anticipated UFC 229 main event, it will have been almost two years since his historic feat in New York City against then-titleholder Eddie Alvarez.

‘The Notorious’ rallied to supremacy in the lightweight division back in November 2016 as the UFC made its long-awaited debut in the Big Apple at the world famous Madison Square Garden. It was, of course, the organization’s most prestigious star that starred in that main event, as he clinically knocked out Alvarez inside two one-sided rounds to become the first ever simultaneous two-weight world champion.

Seeing himself crowned as ‘the double champ’ was the pinnacle of his career, having previously dispatched former dominant featherweight champion Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds as well.

Next up, though, is another huge threat and arguably the deadly Dubliner’s toughest test to date in the cage in the form of Russian grappler Khabib Nurmagomedov, following that cash-grab boxing fight against retired legend Floyd Mayweather Jr last year in Las Vegas.

The Irishman will return to the Octagon for the first time in two years as the 11/8 outsider in the Khabib v McGregor fight odds from Paddy Power, as he seeks another monumental victory in his already impressive career to date.

Khabib represents a mammoth threat to McGregor on his comeback to the sport that he put in the mainstream and become the face of in recent years, since bursting onto the scene and rallying to superstardom.

The Russian boasts an unbeaten record in his MMA career to date and his time in the UFC has been nothing short of dominant, simply mauling any fighter that has challenged him in the cage to date.

This includes winning the then-vacant lightweight belt earlier this year when comfortably outpointing Al Iaquinta over five rounds, with that having followed up other supreme showings over Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson and Rafael dos Anjos.

The key to victory for the Russian wrestler will be to search for that favoured takedown and make McGregor fight on the canvas, but it’s the process of going in for that approach that could be his undoing.

McGregor is arguably the finest striker in the sport, proven by his performances against Nate Diaz, Aldo and Alvarez, and he could well land that one huge left hand on Khabib as he storms in seeking the takedown during proceedings.

There’s also the fact Khabib has not fought the same level of opponents as McGregor in their respective careers, with the Irishman having taken on all comers at the elite level. He also has the big-fight and main event experience, whereas Nurmagomedov has not featured on as many high-profile bouts as this.

McGregor will enter this UFC 229 main event showdown as the outsider to prevail, as is the recent dominance of Khabib in the Octagon, but he has all the attributes needed to take his Russian rival out early in the opening rounds and secure another hugely impressive notch on his record.