Ahead of his planned return to action at UFC 257 opposite former-foe, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier, former two-weight world champion, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor has denounced critics and fans for criticizing his decision to snap an eighteen-month hiatus from the sport in January this year, in a UFC 246 clash with Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.
McGregor, who according to promotional president, Dana White, has yet to sign his bout agreement to match with Poirier at the proposed January 23rd. event, possibly on ‘Fight Island’ – is currently training in Albufeira, Portugal alongside Brave CF striker, Cian Cowley and his family.
The Straight Blast Gym staple, who was preparing for a potential three-fight “season” in 2020, seen those plans scuppered in part due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which forced the UFC to cancel events, before hosting showcases behind closed gates.
In his sole Octagon outing of the year, the 32-year-old counter striker headlined the above mentioned UFC 246 event at the T-Mobile Arena, wiping out veteran striker, Cerrone with a forty-second high-kick followed by strikes stoppage win in a welterweight main event.
Briefly floated as a potential opponent for recent interim champion, Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje for a potential July event this summer, that bout failed to materialise, with the former lightweight and featherweight champion now largely expected to meet with former interim 155-pound best, Poirier in January.
Speaking with Parimatch recently in a telling interview, McGregor spoke of criticism he’s received online for his decision to mark his Octagon return with a showdown opposite veteran contender, Cerrone.
“You know, you go online and you’ll see some guy like, ‘Hey, you only f*cking fought (Donald) Cerrone’ like imagine some guy saying that about a legend,” McGregor said. “The way the fans kind of try to downplay who you fought or something or say, ‘You haven’t fought this guy yet’ or you ain’t done that.“
“If you think of it like a mirror, that person who’s writing this or saying this, he himself is projecting his own insecurities because that person wouldn’t have fought anyone on planet Earth. So he’s saying, ‘You ain’t doing this, you ain’t doing that’ when it’s in his own thoughts that he ain’t done this or ain’t done that on any scale, so it’s like a mirror. You know as long as your own self is right, everything else around you will become right. And that’s it.“
With the future of current undisputed champion, Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov still up in the air in regards to a recently announced retirement, the division continues to develop with contenders like McGregor, Poirier, and Gaethje, as well as Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson, Michael Chandler, Charles Oliveira and recent returner, Rafael dos Anjos outlined as potential challengers over the course of next year.