McGregor is interviewed in the bedroom of a house in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland.
Without a doubt you will see me in the UFC in the future…I started MMA a few years ago and I really, really love it. It’s like an addition for me. I train twice a day. I don’t want to do anything else…If you’re not dedicated your not going to go anywhere…My dream is to be world lightweight champion in the UFC, to have more money than I know what to do with, and have a great life for my kids and my grandkids and everyone who has come up with me…
Helwani interviews McGregor for the first time on The MMA hour. He talks about his mental attitude:
I am an Irish legend. I’m a living legend. I see myself as the champ already…I saw myself as the champ from day one. Before I even started training I always saw myself as the champ. That’s how I see myself. I see myself already there. I visualised this conversation. I visualised this conversation. I’ve visualised the walk out. I have shots picked out that I’m gonna throw in five weeks. You see it in your head, you’re gonna see it when you arrive.
McGregor is interviewed by Setanta MMA, he talks about his motivations, his coaching, goals, and money.
Every boy gets into fights. I was never bullied. Fights would happen, you’re growing up on the street, playing football or whatever. For me, it stuck in my head. Maybe another boy would forget about it. But for me, Idwelled on it. What way should I have moved there? He did this, maybe if I done that it would have turned out better. It began to build in my mind that I wanted to become really good at this, to defend myself in any situation. So I went from gym to gym – kickboxing, boxing, grappling, wrestling, just trying to learn different ways the body can move, to attack and defend. It became an obsession and before you know it you’re headlining in football stadiums.
How much better can he get?
I’m only getting better. I’m only scratching the surface but I’m still better than any one of them. I’m taking over the game, in every way shape and form.
In an interview with Esquire, McGregor calls out Mayweather.
I look at him as a rookie in ten other areas. If you can box, what happens if I grab hold of your legs? If you put me face-to-face with Floyd Mayweather—pound-for-pound boxing’s best—if I fought Floyd, I would kill him in less than thirty seconds. It would take me less than thirty seconds to wrap around him like a boa constrictor and strangle him.
In the buildup to the UFC 189 fight against Mendes, McGregor tells the story of Brendan Malone, a young fan, who died of cancer.
I got a phone call from a person at the UFC, saying the Make a Wish Foundation has reached out to them, and this kid has cancer or leukemia. And this is going to be his last wish, and his last wish is going to be to talk on the phone to you, and I didn’t know what the…so I rang the kid and we talked for a long, long time. I talked with his friends in the hospital and his family. And today, or last night, he passed away. It f-cked my head up because this little kid is in Ireland, and I’m telling the kid ‘I’m gonna take this belt, and I’ll bring the belt to you’, and I was saying we’re going to raise the belt up together.
McGregor and Mendez give post-fight interviews in the octagon. McGregor:
I’m absolutely blown away by the support…I’ve been hearing all the while that I’ve been protected from this style of opponent, that I’ve been gifted a title shot. So when my title shot went running and they gave me the challenge I was supposed to be protected from, I decided that I’m just going to prove to people that I’m a true fighter. It doesn’t matter who it is, I’ll show up and I’ll put a finish on any fighter.
First of all I want to thank Conor for accepting on two weeks…The guy’s tough. He’s got the talk to back it u. These Irish guys are crazy.
McGregor is interviewed by Olivi backstage after the fight.
I’m overwhelmed. It was a lot of work to get here…it’s been a long road, a lot of hard work. A lot of dedication…He’s a phenomenal athlete. Takedown isn’t enough in this business. I knew he was tired. I was winning every exchange, so I knew he was breaking bit by bit. I figured it would happen like that, it would be up and down, but I wold be getting the better of the exchanges. And I put him down.
McGregor talks about why he got into MMA.
I just got into it. I didn’t really care about sport. Like I didn’t care about sport fighting. I didn’t get in it to be the all Ireland champion or the world champion. I just got in it so people would say ‘right, this guy can do this’ or ‘this guy does a bit of training or does something, we’ll just watch him. We’ll just leave him alone’. That was how I started doing it and, it turns out I was good at it and, I just got lost in it then and it became more than just that.
Diaz and McGregor are interviewed directly after the fight. Diaz:
I’m not surprised…I know it was gonna be a slow start for me…He had some good punches, and he landed them, so good on him…I’m an athlete, a warrior, we should all be ready to fight, even on our worst days.
I took the chance going at 170. I felt I took him in the first round…but I was inefficient with my energy. I’m humble in victory and in defeat…I took a chance, came up weight, it didn’t work out. I’ll face it like a man, like a champion, and come back and do it again.
McGregor is interviewed backstage, after the fight, by Fox Sports.
It stings real bad..I’ve been on the end of many defeats in my life and I rose back. I will not shy away from it. I will not make excuses for it. I will assess it and come back…I misinterpreted his efficiency. I blew out and he did not. He went into autopilot, while I panicked a little bit.
On Jose Aldo:
I’ve seen the Jose thing. He can celebrate through another man’s victory, but at the day when we faced he was unconscious. That’s not the sign of a true champion…When I defeated him I showed him respect. Maybe I’ll go back down and shut him up one more time.
In an interview with Men’s Health, Bjornsson talks about his sparring session with McGregor, before his victory against Jose Aldo. He says he had to be careful not to injure McGregor.
I was in Ireland shooting for Game of Thrones and my friend [Icelandic UFC fighter] Gunnar Nelson was training in Dublin with Conor. I asked if I could check out a session. I knew he had a big fight coming up, so I was gentle with him.
We squared off as if we were gonna do it. Then all of a sudden, he’s bouncing and I’m bouncing. Next thing you know, we’re having a full, bareknuckle body shot fight.
McGregor’s manager says McGregor initially asked for the UFC 200 fight with Diaz at 170 pounds — the same weight as UFC 196. Then, after listening to Coach Kavanagh and the rest of his team, McGregor said he’d be willing to do it at 155.
At the 11th hour, before we signed the bout agreement, [McGregor] said, ‘Look, I’m hearing everybody. If everybody wants to do 155, fine. Let’s do 155’. The contract was already written at 170. And so, in Conor’s defense, he really didn’t give two sh*ts. He really wanted it at 170, because he wanted to prove he could beat him there…Conor is his own CEO, but intelligently he listens to the people around him and then makes his own final decision.
The fight will be at 170. Attar also says the rematch is not about McGregor wanting to avenge his only loss in the UFC.
For him, that loss in itself, because of how he was performing until it went the other way is yet again fueled by his own self-belief system, confidence and desire to want to continue to push the envelope with his athletic ability and his skills, no matter who is in front of him. It happens to be the guy who beat him. He wants to put the same canvas up and paint a different picture for the audience to watch.
Attar says that immediately after the loss to Diaz, McGregor watched the fight on his phone with his coach around 20 times on a loop, even before the press conference started.
[He’s] obsessed. Obsessed with it.
In an interview with Heavyw8 News, Johnson praises McGregor.
I like Conor McGregor, ‘The Notorious’, I wish I took that name. I like it. I like everything about Conor McGregor…I like what he’s doing for the sport of UFC as well and I hope he doesn’t lose because it’s a fickle world. One minute everyone’s on your back, you’re the flavour of the month, you take a loss, everyone writes you off, but he’s done a lot for the sport of the UFC so far. You can’t fault him after losing, it’s how he gets back up and I think so far he’s done unbelievably well for the sport of UFC and I just hope he continues that.
In an interview with MMA Underground Schilling talks about Diaz’s approach to fighting McGregor.
There is no way that any consummate professional is going to go out there and blow his wad in the first round – unless you’re Conor McGregor and you go out there and blow your wad in the first round…So, Nate’s game plan was to go out there, not get knocked-out, but not waste any energy, and pick up as the rounds went on, because you have to go five rounds. You look at Nick and Nate’s style of fighting – they don’t ever do that well in the first round. They set a pace and then they drown you in it and then by the third, fourth round, guys are shooting for takedowns because they can’t stand getting hit anymore.
On the upcoming UFC 200 fight:
It’s going to be the same fight. I think it’s so obvious the holes in Conor’s game, they were all over the place. I think the skillset that Nate has is far superior to Conor’s and Nate having a full training camp is just way different…if you’re in there with someone you look up to, and you’re intimidated by, and you’re scared of, and talking all this sh-t about, your adrenaline is going to get (expletive) really bad and you’re going to try and knock him out in the first round. And, you’re going to lose like it did the last time.
On McGregor’s “humble in victory and defeat” attitude:
No, he got humbled, and humiliated. There is a big difference between being humble, and being humbled. There’s a big difference.
In an interview on The Jim Rome Show, White talks about McGregor’s retirement announcement.
We’d been going back and forth over this whole press conference and commercial thing. He’s young, he’s emotional, and I believe that’s what that was. Do I believe he’s retiring? I don’t. But if he is, I wish him well. Conor McGregor will fight again I believe. He’s a young guy, he’s a proud guy, he’s very opinionated. I think yesterday his tweet was out of frustration and not the true desire to retire…You can’t not show up to promote your fight. Especially it’s UFC 200. We’re spending like 10 million dollars in commercials and advertising and everything else, and he’s the main event, and he’s not going to be a part of it? It doesn’t work that way.
White also says reports of McGregor wanting $10 million to fight at UFC 200 are false:
That is a flat out disgusting lie. It’s a lie. Conor McGregor has never agreed to fight then come back and ask for more money. He’s never done that. He’s not like that…I’m not mad at Conor McGregor at all. I have no ill-will towards him whatsoever. Listen, he’s a big boy he made a decision not to fight at two hundred he knows what that means to him. Listen, I got three months to go and a lot of people who want to fight on it.
Pundit Arena interviews McGregor in Iceland.
I’m feeling good buddy, I’m feeling good. I’m over here, I’m training hard and we’ll see how things go. I’m enjoying retired life for now. I’ve been sick of the cameras a long time. Yet here you two are!
In an interview with The MMAHour, Nelson says the weight cut to 145 lbs is so difficult that he would prefer to see McGregor continue his career at lightweight, which he says is a more natural weight class.
With 145 lbs, I know he can go back down and defend his title, no problem. I just think he doesn’t want to do that cut again. It’s a nasty one and I agree with him. I understand that. I would like to see him go to the 155 lbs division before going all the way up to welterweight but he’ll do whatever he feels like.
On the retirement tweet:
I think it kind of happened because he wanted to really focus on his training for this fight and he felt like going over there and doing all this media stuff was going to take away from his training and I think that’s the reason why he kind of had enough of that. Like he says, he’s done dancing like a monkey and he wants to focus on training. And I understand that…When exactly, I’m not sure but maybe UFC 201 or UFC 202. I would definitely put my money on him coming back and I believe the money is there as well.
In an interview on Mayweather’s official boxing channel, Mayweather Snr. talks about the possibility of a fight with McGregor.
I think it would be bigger than Pacman and Floyd. You just wait and see.
On McGregor’s chances of beating his son:
Zero percent. I’m not going to say that it would be the quickest knock out of Floyd’s career. I’m not gonna say that. But it would be one of the most humiliating fights that anyone could see.
On whether the fight would actually be made:
Oh hell yes. It’s an easy test. You know what Floyd’s gonna do.
Roach says he was asked to train McGregor.
They said, ‘will you train him?’ I said ‘Tell him to show up’. I like helping people. But I’m not going to train him to fight Mayweather. I’d have to train him for at least three years to get him ready for [Floyd] Mayweather…He’s a little green, but c’mon. He’s good at MMa, but come on…If you fight boxing rules the boxer will win, if you fight MMA rules the MMA guy will win…If he comes I’ll help him for sure.
In an interview on on the Russillo and Kannell show, White says that a McGregor-Mayweather matchup is ‘impossible’.
Let me put it to you this way. Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are in the same sport. It took how long for those two to fight? Now imagine how hard it would be to get [Mayweather and McGregor] to fight. They’re not in the same sport. Is this thing going to be MMA or boxing rules? Who’s getting the lion’s share of the money? This and that. It’s impossible. But like I’ve said, ‘Floyd, you want to fight Conor, call me.’
In an interview with Submission Radio, Lamas says he would like to fight McGregor:
I’d love the chance to punch McGregor in his mouth. So probably McGregor would excite me the most…[Promotion] is part of the job, man. I mean, I’ve never been able to get out of any media obligations. And I know that he’s had a lot more put on him, but they’re paying him the money to do it. So he needs to get his ass in there and do this stuff. He’s gotta promote the events just like everybody else. Listen man, we’re all in this to be champions. We’re all in this for the UFC to, you know, hype us up as much as they can. The more exposure we get, the better it is for our career. That guy (McGregor) is making money hand over fist. He’s got nothing to complain about.
Mayweather says he could come out of retirement to fight McGregor.
If I do fight, it’s only against Conor McGregor … not against nobody else. Because this match-up is so intriguing. You have (a boxer) against an MMA fighter – one of the best MMA fighters to ever. Stand up and do it. He’s a strong fighter, and when I look at his fights, he’s a little faster than I thought he was…When he kick ass, he kick ass in a stand-up position. I think in his last fight, the guy (Nate Diaz) was too heavy. But, he’s going to be OK. I think it will be so entertaining, if we can do it. If we can put a boxer with an MMA fighter. I can’t overlook that guy.We haven’t made the fight happen yet, but if we could tweak a few things, I’m sure we could get him, not a good pay-day, but a great pay-day…I’m pretty sure we’re going to have a master plan to make that fight happen. It hasn’t happened, yet, but we locked down some dates, me and my team, in different countries, in different cities in the United States. And you already know what my number is, $100million. That’s just the guarantee. We don’t talk about my number on the back end.
McGregor is interviewed by Mane for ESPN Sportscenter. McGregor talks about the controversy around UFC 200.
It was a publicized civil war. I was going through some things, there was some crazy stuff going on back home…I didn’t say no to everything. I just wanted to do reasonable media. And then all of a sudden, we’ve got to drag you 40-hour flights to do a runaround — New York, Vegas, California – 70 press conferences, 70 talk show, adverts, all of this. I only made you $400 million last week! I need to get right. I wanted to focus, and I was deep in the process. I just wanted a little bit more time…And they weren’t havin’ it. They were trying to push back on me. I was trying to push back on them…and it blew up then.
On his Twitter announcement
It blew up! I was kinda having fun with that. At the start it was kind of half hearted. And then all of a sudden, ‘You’re off UFC 200!’ I was like, ‘well f-k you too then!’ Seeing it all blow up like that, it was amusing for a while. There was times, seeing the press conference taking place, I thought I should’ve just jumped on the damn flight, but sometimes you’ve gotta do what’s right for you, and not what’s right for everyone else. And especially if you’ve done what’s right for everybody else a million times, you should have the right to do something for yourself.
In the second part of McGregor’s interview on ESPN Sportscenter, he talks to Mane about Mayweather.
I hear the boy talking. The leak came out. It was him that leaked it. He gets $100 million and I get $7 million. That’s a paycut to me. I don’t take paycuts. I thought boxing was where the money was at. $7 million is laughable. I’m also talking $100 million. Who doesn’t want to conquer both worlds? He’s getting old now. I have the size, I have the reach, I have the height. I have the youth. He needs me. I don’t need him. That’s the truth of it. He fights someone else in boxing realm, the pay goes from $100 million to $15 million. He needs me. If he wants to talk he can talk, but it’s me who’s in control here.
In an interview with ESPN, McGregor says he was deeply affected by the death of Carvalho.
I had f—— journalists knocking down my mother’s door, you know what I mean? That’s not what I signed up to do — have people knocking on my mother’s door, talking about a kid dying. It’s not nice to see a kid die like that. It does something to you. And there’s been show after show canceled in Ireland since that. It’s f—– up to be a part of it, and I didn’t want to bring it back up and put it more on a public scale. After all that, I did not want to be put in front of a camera and made to dance. I just wasn’t feeling it.
Jeffries says he was impressed by McGregor’s boxing ability.
He had really good boxing knowledge, amazing footwork, and he was very athletic and elusive. I thought his boxing was going to be amateur level, but he could beat a lot of professional fighters. Conor would beat some very high-talent professionals…I’ve totally changed my opinion. I thought about the [Mayweather] fight a lot. Conor, with how elusive he is and his style, he’s tough as well. What people don’t realise with Conor is that he’s got an iron jaw. Yes, he was rocked once by one of the best boxers in the UFC in Nate Diaz. He got caught with a solid right hand with a four-ounce glove. He got rocked, but who wouldn’t? I give him a shot [at beating Mayweather]. He’s fit, strong, has a tough chin, and one thing about Floyd is that he’s not a puncher, and they’re wearing bigger gloves. Floyd’s hardest fight was with Maidana. McGregor has a similar ‘rough’ sort of style. I don’t think it’s as one-sided as people think it is.
Roach says Mayweather visited his gym, and told him to coach McGregor if the fight is announced.
Mayweather did come out to my [Wild Card] gym last week, and he asked me to take that job if it’s offered. He told me the fight’s gonna happen, and we’re gonna make a lot of money. I told Mayweather that it would take me at least three years to get him ready to fight you. Conor McGregor’s a tough guy, but being a tough guy doesn’t really help you much! He looks like an OK boxer, but he’s almost like a beginner…I do know that Floyd’s been training at one of my gyms, and he’s been sparring with some of my professional fighters, and I hear he’s not doing too well with my professionals.
McGregor talks to ESPN about his fight with Diaz:
What kind of fighter would I be, if I said, ‘Hey, I didn’t get you at 170, let me try to get you at 155. I’ll make my adjustments. I ate up to the weight. This time, I won’t do that. The first eight minutes of the fight was easy. Let’s be honest, I slapped the head off him. Once the gas tank went, that was it. I drowned. He landed that one punch that rang the bell and went, ‘[Gasp], I’m back.’ He was close to being done. One or two more shots and he would have been wrapped up. Swinging on gymnastic rings on fight week isn’t the best thing. Usually, I wrap myself in bubble wrap and only do fight specific things, but just because of that weight, no weight cut, I had put it in my head that, ‘I’m free.’ I had energy to burn. I was doing so much bounce footwork, the balls of my feet were burned to a crisp. Looking back, it was ridiculous. I don’t know what I was thinking. Look at me right now. Fish, red cabbage, asparagus — I’m nowhere near a fight and I’m on the clock with nutrition.
On the interim title fight between Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo at UFC 200
The fight was my idea. I wanted to have my revenge at 170 and they’re crying and complaining about the 145-pound belt, which I just won three months ago. That division was killed, it was dead. Jose went down in 13 seconds. What more can I do? I traveled the world with that man. I finally got him in the Octagon and he only lasts 13 seconds. I didn’t see a challenge there anymore. So, I wanted to create interest from a fan’s perspective and my perspective. I want to see them two go at it, with an interim belt on the line. Then I will see people walking around my division with a belt and that will intrigue me. It will make me want that belt again.
In an interview with ESPN’s Sportscenter, White says that he is working on McGregor-Diaz matchup.
We’re working on what’s next for him. We’re trying to set up a fight right now. It’s been a little challenging. Obviously the fight he would love to do is the rematch with Nate Diaz. I’m trying to get the deal done…Conor is obsessed with this rematch. I don’t know why, but he is. It’s just his type of personality. He’s obsessed with it. He’s obsessed with fighting Diaz again – at 170 pounds. I don’t know if [the fight] will ever happen, but I’m trying.
In an interview on FOX Sports 1’s The Herd, White says the UFC has begun looking at alternative opponents for McGregor’s next fight after unsuccessfully trying to reach a deal with Diaz.
It’s just madness. It’s just been tough. It’s been a tough go-through, so we’re looking at another fight for Conor right now and we’ll see how this thing comes together. But Conor is just so obsessed with Diaz at 170, it’s been crazy. The reality is that since that Conor McGregor fight — obviously when you win a fight of that magnitude, it has definitely rubbed off on Nate. People do want to see Nate fight. People do want to see this fight again, and I’m one of those guys who, I want to make the fight that people want to see, and I believe people do want to see this fight. But, people do want to see Conor McGregor vs. Frankie Edgar or Jose Aldo again too. I’m sure they would want to see him fight Rafael dos Anjos at 155 for that title, so there’s a lot of fights out there for Conor, if we can’t get this Nate fight done.
In an interview with ESPN’s SportsCenter, Lesnar responds to McGregor’s boast that he has the largest PPV views.
I don’t know him. I know of Conor McGregor. This sport has evolved even from when I first entered the octagon. I think people are finding out that you have to talk the talk, and you have to more importantly, you have to walk the walk. For guys that can talk and walk the walk, I think it’s great. I think it’s great for the company. I’ve got no qualms with anybody. If somebody wants to state that they’re the biggest pay-per-view draw in the world, I don’t care…I’ve never come out and said, ‘I hold the most pay-per-view buys.’ All I know is what I got paid and I’m happy. Like I said, I’m a prize fighter. I don’t hang my championship trophies on the walls because they don’t pay the bills…The true competitor in me is still alive and well and I have to do this. At the top of my career, I wasn’t at the top of my game. I feel like I was cheated out of my career in the UFC. In my mind and in my heart, I never lost to a foe. I never lost to my opponent. I lost to diverticulitis. That was my opponent who beat me.
Kavanagh says he and McGregor have been watching the featherweight division and that what happens next will depend on how the next couple months play out
The short answer is I don’t know [if Conor will return to 145 pounds]. I’m very intrigued to see the Aldo and Edgar fight. I hope Aldo is fully recovered from the bad knockout. I thought (Chad) Mendes went back in there really quick after the knockout against Conor. People don’t realize the damage it does — it takes a long time to recover, and I think Mendes went down quicker in that fight because of that. Maybe if he’d let himself rest a bit more he might have had more fight for Edgar. I hope that’s not the case for Aldo, (I hope) we get to see a solid version of Aldo and a new kind of improved Edgar, and see what different from the first fight. So yea, let’s see that, and assess after the rematch. It’s kind of those two names and (Max) Holloway kind of in the mix, so it’s an interesting time….I thought Holloway looked fantastic the other night [at UFC 199]. I’ve said it ever since Conor fought Max, I had him as the second best 145er in the division.
During a talk with MMA Underground, Kavanagh says he thinks McGregor-Mayweather will happen.
It puts it on hold. I think that contest will happen eventually but it’s on hold for now. I’d be very surprised if it doesn’t at some stage. I think it’s a bigger fight; I think there’s a lot of intrigue about it. I could be 100% wrong. Right now we’re focusing on August 20th. We have an important rematch – a mixed martial arts fight – but if in time that fight was to be announced it would not surprise me and I think it would be an interesting one.
It’s hard to beat Floyd with boxing because he seems to be almost perfect in terms of how defensive he is. I think if you’re a classically trained boxer you’re gonna lose to Floyd because he just seems to make everybody look quite ordinary. But maybe somebody who doesn’t strike like a boxer might be a new look for him. Maybe the odd sly knee and leg kick as well. [Laughs.] You get two warnings. [Laughs.]
In an interview with Irish Independent, McGregor’s father, Tony, says that Conor had bought the entire family BMWs.
Conor has a very generous nature, which he gets from his mother, and we realise that we’re very lucky. He came home from an American trip last year, and I saw this fleet of cars coming around the corner with him in the lead car, a black BMW 5 Series. I presumed it was an entourage chauffeuring him home, but he told me to hop in and asked if I liked the car? I said it was lovely and he handed me the keys and said, ‘Good, because it’s yours.’ He bought one for everyone in the family, which was really nice.
Alvarez says that McGregor wasn’t beaten by Diaz.
Diaz didn’t beat him that night. Conor beat himself, his overconfidence. Moving up in weight with that overconfidence, that’s what made him lose. But if he takes things seriously, I think it will be a different fight.
Danis talks about his training with McGregor in Dublin.
I look up to Conor because he said he was going to do something and he went off and did it. He didn’t take any shortcuts, he worked his ass off. He talks the talk and walks the walk. He’s a good guy to learn from and be around. I really enjoyed him being around and helping him. Conor’s a great fighter, he’s good at jiu-jitsu. It’s cool to be around him, because he motivates you to be the best.
McGregor and Kavanagh talk about the fighter’s training program in a profile in the Irish Examiner. McGregor starts training at 1pm, with intense workout for over an hour. After lunch he spars with partners brought over from all around the world, finishing with more cardio in the evening. McGregor:
[For UFC 196] I was waking up late and training late, showing up here at maybe 2pm and still being here till one in the morning. Like a buzzing light. Buzzzz. I was never fully on and I was never off. I was just there. That’s not what this game is about. You need to be…[clicks fingers]…On.
Kavanagh admits he did not pay enough attention to McGregor’s training, and that the Diaz loss has helped them focus.
After the Aldo fight, I’ll admit in terms of training Conor, my foot went off the pedal altogether. I got caught up with stuff in the gym…It was supposed to be only for a week or two but it turned into six or seven and then I realised ‘We’re just two weeks out from this and I’ve barely done a session with Conor.’ Now it’s every day. We’re here at 1pm. Sharp…The only reason it didn’t happen for Conor in round two was because he got tired. That’s one thing that will not happen in this contest…The Conor that’s going out there on August 20 is an absolutely new model. This is Conor 3.0 compared to what went up against Diaz in March. And I’ve said it to Conor, whenever he’s fought his next few fights and he calls it a day, we will look at the first Diaz fight as the absolute most positive thing that ever happened to us because it taught us so much.
Jones says it’s important not to believe that you are unbeatable.
I know that I can be beat and I think that’s why I haven’t been beat, where some of these guys really start to believe their hype. Ronda Rousey, they were saying she’s the best fighter of all time and best athlete in the world, stuff like that and I was happy for her to hear those types of accolades, but once I realized that maybe she was starting to believe it herself, I knew she was in a dangerous spot. Conor McGregor saying these things about just being the baddest dude and ‘I’ll beat anybody at any weight class,’ that’s foolish stuff. When you believe the hype to that level, that’s when you’re in danger…People always ask if I’m competing with with Conor or Ronda. I’m not at all. I think there’s enough room in the sky for many stars. We all bring so much different things to the table, different demographics and viewership so I’m just grateful to be a part of of the conversation again of being top dog.
Jones says that McGregor should not get a stake in UFC if it is sold.
No. No I don’t. The UFC has created Conor McGregor. I think sometimes he forgets that. But, he is a magnificent talent and we’re all glad to have him as a part of the sport. He’s bringing a lot of attention, and just so much more recognition. And at the end of the day, when he wins, we all win. So, I’m grateful for him.
In an interview with MMA Hour, Alvarez says the Diaz-McGregor UFC 202 fight is a ‘freakshow’.
I’ll be there with a bull horn ringside to that freakshow. The least-best lightweights in the division and they are the highest paid. It’s bullshit. These guys are making the highest dollars, they are both considered lightweights, I guess. They are making the highest dollars of all of us and you have guys like Rafael dos Anjos, Donald Cerrone, myself, like real top-level guys who are just kind of getting by. These two guys need to get taken out and taken out viciously so we can get some of that money.
Diaz tells Whitlock that McGregor’s fame is due to the UFC pushing his image.
Well that’s what the UFC did. They pushed his fan base and put all their energy and exposure on him. Like I said, I’ve been fighting a long time. They haven’t been (doing it for me) and they now can’t deny it. Look, they got me up here with you because I beat the guy.
McGregor appears on the cover of Men’s Health magazine. In the interview he talks about how Carvalho’s death affected him.
How do I feel? How would you feel? It’s f**ked up. I wasn’t just watching that fight. I helped train a guy to kill someone, and then someone wound up dying. This is a f**king dangerous game. People call it a sport, but it’s fighting. I’m just making sure it ain’t me. And that’s f**ked up. Damn. I still can’t believe that kid is dead.
In an interview with Olivi, Diaz says the fast rematch with McGregor is the UFC’s way of erasing the results of the first fight so that the biggest moneymaker in the sport can regain the spotlight..
When it first got booked, I was like, ‘Man, they want to get me right back in there again and try to win this back and weed me out again…Can I sit back for eight months and soak up some popularity and exposure and go on vacation and do what I gotta do? They were like, ‘We want this,’ and I was like why so quick? But I was like, whatever, and then the deals got done.” [To win] I’m going to prepare, that’s about it. We’re going to see. The same thing I always say: My objective is to win, I’m going to train hard and try to get it done. I believe I’m the superior martial artist and I’m just going to go in there and get the job done. My plan is to win and do good, work hard and win the fight.
In an interview with Ball Street, Page offers advice to McGregor.
I feel what did him in was his ‘Mystic Mac’ thing of knocking guys out. He should never have gone in there looking for the knockout. Diaz reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons where Homer Simpson gets hit loads, hits back once and wins. Next time go in and try and beat him over five rounds, say to yourself that it’s going to go the distance. The ego took a hold. He is better and more competent as a stand-up artist, and I think he can replicate that first round, but don’t burn yourself out – just keep tagging. Aim for the fourth and fifth round. Nate Diaz isn’t going to take him down. The reason he got to the ground was because a wobbled Conor went for his own takedown…Keep hitting and moving. It might not be a spectacular fight with an amazing finish, but you will get the result that you need. Everyone’s different, so don’t fight them all the same way. Don’t try to finish him. If he takes a little backstep he can win that fight – quite comfortably as well.
In his interview on MMA Hour, Kavanagh talks about the effect of McGregor’s training camp.
I think the first round of the fight was all Conor. I think there is the technical superiority there. I don’t think that will have changed with 18 weeks training. I don’t think Nate will have been able to catch up on that. Clearly the way the contest ended, there was a substantial conditioning difference between the two. That’s what we have changed. Skill wise, it takes maybe ten years, the 10,000 hour rule, to get to a mastery level in something. But conditioning wise, 18 weeks is a lifetime… So I think he is the somewhat perfect MMA fighter now.
On McGregor’s mood:
I have never seen him like this six days out from a fight. Six days out from a fight is normally…you got to creep around the house a bit because the weight cut’s in, he’s tired of training at this stage and all the media obligations. Where we didn’t have to do all that much this time, there is no weight to be cut, training went perfect. He is like a kid on Christmas Eve.
McGregor speaks exclusively to BT Sport’s Pearce. On fighting Diaz at the same weight as UFC 196.
He got me at that specific weight. I can’t say ‘move down a weight and I’ll get you there’. What kind of fighter is that? What kind of man would I be if I was to say that. I don’t feel the size was the reason. Now in saying that, he’s gotten even bigger than the last fight. He hasn’t had to focus on that 155 pound cut. He’s been eating well I’m sure and growing naturally. I’m facing an even bigger man. But you know what? I’m excited about that, and I’ve put in the correct preparation for that.
In an interview with MMA Podcast, McGregor says Diaz was lucky.
I truly believe…all you got to do is look at his corner. How they went from panic to elation. They were jumping around, like they had literally won the lotto, when Nate was beginning to get the upper hand. Whereas if you look at my corner, it was emotionless from start to finish. They got lucky. That’s what we feel. August 20 I will prove that.
On his attitude to the upcoming fight:
This is most certainly not another fight. We have been going to war every single day in the gym. This is a war for me.
McGregor talks about the bottle-throwing incident on UFC Sportscenter.
I see it as handbags. They walked out shouting and talking. What was it? We’re here ready to fight, we’re ready for war. Let’s bring it.
On why he was late:
When a McGregor shows in town the traffic builds up, so we were just a little bit caught in the Las Vegas traffic. I was just a couple of minutes late, that’s all. At least I showed up this time.