Conor McGregor almost fought this summer. “The Notorious” was close to fighting a top-ranked lightweight opponent in July from Madison Square Garden.
However, an injury to his hand derailed those plans. Now, it’s being speculated whether or not mixed martial arts (MMA) fans will get to see the Irishman fight before the end of 2019. This week, McGregor spoke to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani to open up about several issues, most notably a bar incident he was involved in this past April.
When asked who he’d like to fight in his return to the Octagon, McGregor noted he wants his lightweight title back. McGregor revealed he had a broken foot heading into his first right with Khabib, and feels there are a few things he can correct from the previous camp to ensure a different result.
“In the return fight? You know, I want my world title back. I want my redemption. The camp wasn’t correct. I learned so much from that. Knowing the commitment I had in that camp, knowing the performance I put on – he ran away for that first round, he didn’t throw a punch. He shot for the legs before he threw a punch. The first round I should’ve been talking to Herb [Dean]. He says he was talking to me in the cage, there wasn’t a whisper out of him until he ended up in a dominant position.
“The only reason he ended up in that dominant position was because I walked around with disrespect towards him because he was just running around the cage. I switched off for that millisecond and he got that lucky shot, even after he got that lucky shot, although it was a beautiful shot, even after he got the shot, I bounced back up and engaged. What did he do? Shot again.
“But whatever, there’s many great things that I can take from that. And I can come back and avenge that. But I’m not going to wait around. Whoever. If you’re asking me how, whoever. If Dustin goes in and does it then Dustin. If Nate, Nate. If Jorge, Jorge. I don’t know what size – I don’t know what Dana is talking about size and all that. I don’t even know Jorge that well to be honest. I’ve only seen the last two, I saw the Iaquinta bout.
“But, I mean, anyone. Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, Holloway rematch, Aldo rematch, there’s so many bouts for me. So many. In reality, it doesn’t matter who. It’s just about me getting back in ad being who I am. Not a shell of myself. Not half-committed. I was almost, if I had to say what I was, I was too committed in the gym and not committed enough outside of it.
“The training sessions were too serious, and when I left the gym, they were off my mind. I would go off into the jungle. You can not do that. You can not be half in. Especially in a game like this. And I paid the price for it. And although I had reasons and I had injuries, who gives a sh*t? Who gives a sh*t? What happened happened. I know what I can do, I’ve done it before, I’ve done it before when I was doubted. So I’m eager to do it again.”
When asked if it’s possible that he’ll fight again before the year’s end, McGregor said he believes he and UFC brass can make that happen.
“I would say true. I would say we can get that done. I could say we can get that done. Like I said, yesterday I spoke to a surgeon about grappling. I’m gonna begin grappling now. I’m already in shape, I have not lost my condition.
“So, I’m in shape, i just need to sharpen up the grappling, just feel how the grip feels on the wrist and things like that. But I can punch fully. What are we now? August. I would say so. I would look for that, yes. End of the year.”
In regards to a potential rematch with Khabib, McGregor said he doesn’t need a tune-up fight before running things back with “The Eagle.” He’s ready to dive right back in.
“Yes. Dive in. Dive in. I dove in on one foot. My foot was a balloon. Do you want to see it? My toes came out of the socket. A guy had to come into the cage and break them back into place. The thing ballooned out. And I hobbled in there, and walked him down and did not give two sh*ts.
“And that was with a bad camp, that was with a half-committed camp. There’s no doubt. If that’s what’s there. That’s what I’ll take. But if not, I’ll take whatever is there. And there’s plenty there. Like I just named. Multiple people.
Do you think McGregor will fight before the end of 2019?