Conor McGregor is patiently assessing his options. The Notorious made his UFC return last month with a ferocious knockout win over Donald Cerrone. UFC President Dana White is adamant that he’ll fight for the lightweight title next but a clash with Nate Diaz remains possible.
However, he seems destined for a rematch with his rival Khabib at some point. The pair openly hate each other. This goes beyond a mere sporting rivalry. Things escalated to a point of no return. McGregor even spent a night in a jail cell because of it.
Now McGregor has spoken about it openly for the first time. In short, he sounds like he agrees it was too much but doesn’t regret a thing.
The former champion admits that some things went too far. We wonder what gave it away? From brawls to arrests to fines and racism, it’s definitely the most toxic rivalry in MMA. McGregor admitted to Helwani that this is the case. However, he wasn’t apologetic. He said:
“Some of the things maybe went too far but it is what it is. It’s the fight business. At the end of the day, it went the way it went. That’s it.
“It wasn’t just said. There were actions that led to what was said. It didn’t just get to words. There was actions that led to those words. Like things throughout the course of the build-up like with the Artem [Lobov] situation. Things that maybe slipped under the radar like it was me that began all this. Whatever, it did get very, very personal.”
However, McGregor isn’t taking anything for granted. If the fight does happen then he’ll have to be at his very best. He did do some things well against the Russan, especially in the first round. But the champion soundly beat him. The Notorious acknowledged that they have two very different skillsets and that he’ll have to be at his best.
“I’m taking a backstep from that and I’m focusing on the skills. It’s a very skillful bout,” he said. “He poses a specific style set and I pose a specific style set and it’s an interesting clash with two fully focused fighters and that’s what will happen in the next bout. I look forward to it, to settling it.
“I look forward to that competition fully focused. You can see the shape of me. Everyone knows. No matter what, that man can run but he cannot hide from it.”
McGregor’s manager Audie Attar believes that the move to welterweight could be perfect for him. The Irishman appears happy without cutting weight. He also thinks that it gives him even more of a mental advantage going into any fight. Attar told MMA Fighting:
“I think that particularly if you’re able to keep your strength or improve your strength and your muscle mass, and more importantly be able to carry your weight to keep your speed and quickness and explosiveness, well then why not?” Attar said. “It’s all about how each individual athlete feels on the night and that’s the most important thing.
“Gaining a competitive advantage is not always having a size, height, speed advantage but also having the right mindset and the right energy come the night of competition. It’s really a subjective thing and you’ve got to leave it to each athlete to decide what’s best for them.”