Aldo says he expected McGregor to return to featherweight and fight him, and surprised when the UFC offered him an interim title fight at UFC 200 against Frankie Edgar instead.
You know as an athlete obviously it’s good because I get to fight, but as a fan it sucks. There’s not much I can say but it really doesn’t have any logic behind it. To me it makes no sense really. Because everyone thought he was going to come back and defend his title and now he’s fighting Nate again. It’s a fight that doesn’t get anyone, anywhere. It doesn’t get Conor anywhere. It doesn’t get Nate anywhere. So it really makes no sense, I don’t know what’s going on…I don’t think there’s any way for [the outcome] to be different. We saw what happened last time. Maybe the only difference is that Nate is going to be even better prepared and Conor’s shame is going to be even greater…He needs to come back to featherweight. There’s no way he can just hold onto that belt for a long time.
Edgar says that, due to his non-response to his social media posts and interviews, McGregor is not going to return to featherweight.
He didn’t respond to anything. He’s so quick with his tongue and he didn’t respond to anything I was putting out there talking about the fight so I did feel that he was going to stay up and try to get that rematch with Nate.
However, he says he is happy about his match-up with Jose Aldo for interim featherweight:
I heard speculation that’s what they might want, but nothing concrete and then Dana called me yesterday and asked me. My reaction, I said yes. What the (expletive) am I going to do?…Let’s just call it the No. 1 contender belt cause that’s what it really is. But I’ll play the game. They did it for Conor, they gave him a belt and if I’ve got to play the whole Conor game to make sure I get this fight, I’m OK with it…The title is definitely what I want. If he never comes back down, I end up becoming champion, I’m a two weight class champion — something he’s trying to do. Maybe I’ll just have to chase him up to 170 to make that fight, to make that payday. Especially if I have the belt he never defended, why not? We can defend it at 155 or 170 if it makes him feel better, but honestly the focus needs to be on Aldo so I’m not too worried about Conor right now.
UFC president White says he talked to McGregor after his defeat by Diaz.
After the fight, Lorenzo (Fertitta) and I went up to Conor’s house that he was renting here in Las Vegas and started talking about what are you thinking, what’s next and he was obsessed — obsessed with fighting Nate Diaz again. Obviously, Lorenzo and I tried to argue with him and say ‘let’s go back down to 145 an defend your title’ or if you really want the Diaz fight that bad, do it at 155. He wants the fight at 170. Even his coach, coach (John) Kavanagh tried to get him off this rematch and off the 170 pound fight, but it’s what he wanted…[Nate said] ‘He wants to do it again, let’s do it again’. Nate was obviously up for the fight.
The rematch between McGregor and Diaz is set for July 9, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The fight will take place at 170 pounds, 25 pounds above McGregor’s usual 145-pound fighting weight. Frankie Edgar will fight Jose Aldo for the interim featherweight title.
Silva says he wants to fight McGregor:
That’s a challenge I would like to do. I’ve never asked to fight anybody, but I would like to test my martial arts skills against Conor McGregor. I would like that and a rematch with Nick Diaz and Michael Bisping. I think McGregor is a great striker, but he didn’t do very well in his last fight because he played into Nate Diaz’s game and that’s really hard. The Diaz brothers have a lot of gas. You have to respect him, the loss to Diaz doesn’t diminish his career at all. These are the fighters I would like to fight. McGregor, Diaz and Bisping because that fight did not end nicely.
Justino credits McGregor for being able to fight in a UFC weight classes, which had a maximum weight of 135. Justino fights at 145, but will drop to 1450 for her upcoming fight against Leslie Smith.
I think [Conor] McGregor opened the door for this. He’s fighting at different weights. He [sold] a lot of pay-per-views and it opened the opportunity. I think the UFC sees the great opportunity and it’s a great time…I’m really happy for the opportunity and I’ll do my best in Curitiba and of course I’ll try for the KO and I’ll do my best…I think it will open the door for me for more fights at 140. Maybe I can fight Miesha [Tate] at 140 and Holly Holm and maybe Ronda [Rousey] when she gets off the pillow.
Abdelaziz, Edgar’s Manager, says that McGregor is avoiding Edgar.
When history speaks for itself, Frankie Edgar will go down as the guy who fought anyone at any weight, any time, and anywhere. But when history speaks for @thenotoriousmma he was a ufc champion who hand picked his opponents and chose a guys out of shape to fight him and he ducked frankie. Every media member I talked to, a majority of the fans wants to see Edgar vs Mcgregor but Conor’s coaches since he lost to Nate Diaz for every interview they talk about everyone else except for frankie. At this point im blaming the @ufcfor not making this fight happen because I think it’s really up to them and they can make Conor fight frankie. Im done with this. It’s been a miserable last 4 months talking and negotiating getting this fight to happen but now I realize the only person who needs to step up and say he wants to fight frankie is Conor. But I don’t believe he wants to because he and everyone else knows that frankie would whoop his ass. I have 0 respect for a champion who ducks contenders and that’s that
McGregor’s Dream Big Budweiser ad is banned by RTE after the station says it promotes underage drinking. Current advertising guidelines prohibit brands from using ‘heroes of the young’ to market alcohol. Budweiser:
Conor is an aspirational figure for people who wish to follow their dreams and ambitions. Based on independent statistics research, Conor McGregor has an overwhelming adult appeal.
RTE believes it took the correct and prudent course of action in not approving the commercials for broadcast on its television services.
McGregor reportedly cancels an appearance on xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, alongside Vin Diesel.
McGregor appears in a companion ad for the Budweiser Dream Big campaign, a contest to win $50,000 to win an ‘American Dream”.
America is a great place. There are many great people. It’s so diverse, so whatever you are interested in you’d best believe you can find a lot of that over in America. To have people look up to me and take inspiration from what I’m doing, that’s something I take great, great pride in. You can go and do it too.
McGregor appears in an ad for Budweiser Ireland’s Dream Big campaign.
Never give up on your dream, Be your own inspiration. A beacon of self-belief. Keep proving others wrong. If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough, So dream as big as you dare.
Diaz and McGregor talk at the post-fight press conference. McGregor:
It’s a bitter pill to swallow. I took a shot, I went at it. I feel I was inefficient with my energy. Usually I fight a man in the division I am champion in, and they crumble under those shots. But Nate took them well. The weight allowed him to take those shots well…It was simply a battle of energy and he got the better of that.
I knew I was the superior boxer, the superior martial artist, the superior Jiu-jitsu…so nothing surprised me, except that I got hit at all…The last few years I’ve been curious when it was going to pay off, and this is the time.
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.
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 defeated by Diaz in the second round. After bloodying Diaz in the first round, McGregor tires the second round. Following a combination from McGregor, Diaz lands a jab and straight left that visibly rocks McGregor. McGregor makes his way toward the center of the cage and is caught with another jab and straight left from Diaz. McGregor tries to takedown Diaz, but is caught in a guillotine. As McGregor rolls to escape, Diaz mounts him, punches him till he turns, then submits him with a rear-naked choke.
EA Sports releases Finish The Fight, a trailer for UFC 2. The ad shows McGregor, Rousey and Tyson counting down the time of their fastest knockouts.
While driving around Las Vegas McGregor spots a cardboard cutout of himself on a fan’s balcony, and decides to pay a surprise visit.
I’m here on the West Coast. Like most fights I usually come out here two, three weeks before. But every time I come back it seems to be a little bit more crazy with the fans. They’ve been treating me like I’m one of their own. I’ve been driving to the gym and I drive past this guy’s apartment, and on the balcony he’s got Irish flags, and a cardboard cut out of me. Now we’re gonna drop in to him and see what he’s about…
In the fan’s place:
I’m blown away by this…I’m gonna put on a show for you.
Every Saturday before the fight I put up my cardboard cutout, I put up the flag, and I put up the banner. The only thing I can say is, that feeling he had with Jose Aldo when he knocked him out and became the champ. Hands down, that’s how it felt tonight. That’s how amazing it was.
Graham Merrigan, an Irish McGregor fan, recounts watching him fight.
The last fight with Aldo, I was in my friends house. I was in shock that it ended in 13 seconds. I nearly tried to stand up. My friend stood up and I used my friend’s shoulder and I was like, ‘Oh they don’t work’. He almost brought me to my feet. He nearly made a miracle!
Cerrone says he is tired of McGregor’s posturing.
Give me Conor McGregor. I’ll fight that p***y. Other than that, I don’t care. Tell that dude to slow his f-king roll. You can’t be just calling out 170-pounders. So, whatever. Enough of him.
McGregor defeats Aldo in 13 seconds, the fastest finish in any UFC title fight.
As the fight starts McGregor takes the center of the octagon. McGregor misses a straight left hand, followed with a leg kick that connects. As Aldo hits with a right-left punch combination, McGregor connects his first punch then hist Aldo’s chin with a left hook that leaves Aldo unconscious. As Aldo falls to the ground, McGregor connects with two hammer fists before the referee stops the fight. Within a minute, Aldo regains consciousness.
UFC’s McGregor criticizes Trump for his negative tweet about Rousey (he had called her “a bad person”).
It’s easy for someone that’s not in there to comment, but it’s different when you’re in there. The emotions are high. It is what it is. You either want to touch gloves or you don’t. That means nothing, so Donald can shut his big, fat mouth. I don’t give a f-ck about Donald Trump.
McGregor criticizes TJ Dillashaw (who is not present) on the show The Ultimate Fighters, telling Faber that he is only in it for himself. Garbrandt gets up and starts to push him. The two fighters are held back by the rest of the group. McGregor:
Loyalty’s a strong thing for me, and I respect loyalty a lot. But I absolutely despise people who are disloyal. People who bite the hand that feeds them. I cannot relate to that in any sway, shape or form. I certainly feel TJ is a little snake in the grass. Hes in here for his own benefit. I simply told that to him and I mean the truth can hurt.
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.
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 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 defeats Mendes for the Interim Featherweight title, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. McGregor is the first UFC champion from the Republic of Ireland. During the fight he spends much of the first two rounds on his back, but he finishes the fight a big left hand that puts Mendes down in the 58th second of the second round. McGregor pounds away for the stoppage and then jumps onto the cage in celebration.
McGregor and Mendes weigh in. McGregor:
Chad is an overgrown midget. I’m gonna hit him, I’m gonna cut him in half and raise gold for Ireland.
Mendes can barely be heard above Irish fans booing.
McGregor and Faber tussle in the corridor at UFC189. McGregor:
I could have thrown him on his head right there and then, nothing happened.
McGregor gives a tour of the mansion he is renting in las Vegas.
I wrote out some rules. The Mac Mansion house rules. Rule No. 1 Don’t talk about Fight Club…Rule 5: This is the rule that’s to do with the fridge. No processed sugars, treats, desserts. I don’t want to come down here to the fridge and see a big cake staring at me at the face and tempting me, ‘cos then I’ll eat the whole damn thing.
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.
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.
McGregor reads out and responds to ‘mean tweets’ that have been sent to him ahead of UFC 189.
Tweet: Conor McGregor is like a little angry ginger cat
CMcG: A lion? A tiger. A leopard. A cheetah! But I’m not angry.
At the Face Off in London with Aldo, McGregor taunts the Brazilian for not bringing his belt.
You forgot your belt. You forgot your belt…It’s a mental sign. It’s ok, it’s a mental sign….
He hasn’t wanted a hold of that belt for the whole trip. He wants it away from him. You haven’t wanted to hold it. Translate that for him.
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.
Paschal Collins, comments on McGregor’s boxing skills, after he beats Max Holloway.
Honestly, I think he will be a phenomenon in Boston. He’s an aggressive fighter, he’s great with his hands and he’s quick with his tongue too – he’s everything that the Americans think an Irishman should be. I was just looking at him the last time he was down here and his eyes were dancing around in his head – he’s a bit of a madman and I suppose you have to be in the fight game. He’s just got that star quality, it’s clear for everyone to see and he deserves it. He works hard, he fights hard and I wish him all the best on Saturday…Conor already had a pedigree in boxing from his early days in Crumlin when he came up to us. It was really his first martial art. It’s been a while since he has been down with us. He was just about to head off to Sweden before I saw him last time, but I’ve always been very impressed by what he can bring to the table. The first time he came up to us was about two years ago, but his development in that period has been unbelievable. His approach is second to none, he’s confident and he has natural power and ability – and that’s priceless in this game. What we can never quite believe is the amount of work he puts in. A lot of times he’d be down to us in the afternoon and he would’ve already been grappling for the whole morning. He comes down here and he can hold his own with world champions like Spike and Stephen, he’s a very capable boxer.
After the Brimage fight, McGregor meets White for the first time on camera. They talk about the Brimage fight and invites him to fight in Dublin and Boston.
White: Welcome to the UFC. There’s been a lot of hype. I guess the hype is real. Marcus Brimage was a tough dude.
McGregor: Yeah man, he’s tough. I hit him in a few shots.
While: You hurt him a lot before you finished him.
White: People are going crazy on Twitter. And I’m sorry they were f-cking with your flag. What the f-ck are they doing fighting with the kid’s flag?
In his professional UFC debut, in Stockholm, Sweden, McGregor beats Brimage with a knockout from a series of uppercuts in 67 seconds. McGregor fought despite a tooth infection which had developed on fight week. He couldn’t open or close his mouth past a certain point, and had difficulty sleeping.
It was just another thing. Nothing could’ve stopped me in there. I wasn’t going to be broken. It was just another thing. Adversity causes some men to break and other men to break records. I chose to be the second one. That’s the way I looked at it. I looked at it as another challenge and f-ck the pain. It’s only a tooth at the end of the day. I got through it.
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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.
Coach Kavanagh posts a video of McGregor getting the high score on an arcade punching bag machine.
At CG 2: Clash of the Giants, McGregor beats Sowinski by a KO in the second round.
McGregor beats Doherty at Immortal Fighting Championship 4, in Letterkenny, Ireland, with a knockout in four seconds.
Mcgregor defeats Stephen Bailey with a TKO in 1:22 at K.O. -- The Fight Before Christmas in in Whitehall Colmcille GAA club, Dublin.
I’m the f-cking future.
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…
McGregor defeats Taylor with a TKO at Cage Rage – Contenders: Ireland vs. Belgium, which is held in Ireland’s National Stadium.
McGregor makes his professional MMA debut at Cage of Truth 2, defeating Gary Morris with a second-round TKO.
McGregor joins Dublin’s Straight Blast Gym team, where he is coached by Sergey Pikulskiy.
Conor’s been wrestling since day one when I came to SBG. From the start he picked things up right away. He’s probably the only person who never missed a wrestling class.
Following the fight, McGregor turns professional and is signed by the Irish Cage of Truth promotion.
McGregor makes his MMA debut, at the amateur Ring of Truth contest in Ringside Boxing Club, Dublin. He beats Campbell with a TKO in the first round,