It’s been a long road to redemption for Conor McGregor but next weekend he can finally silence his doubters. He’ll fight Donald Cerrone in the main event of UFC 246 in Las Vegas. All eyes will be on the Irishman after a year out of the cage. There are question marks about his dedication and motivation.
These have been increased after he revealed that he was partying all through his camp for the Khabib Nurmagamedov fight last year. In short, he was crushed by The Eagle and hasn’t fought since. But now he believes he’s regained his focus and is back on track.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani he explained that things have turned around for him. It all points to a fantastic fight on Saturday night.
McGregor told Helwani that he just didn’t take the fight with Khabib seriously. This time it’s different. He’s focused and he’s not drinking every day like he was before. Only time will tell how true his words are.
“I had people holed up in a hotel from that part of the world (Dagestan/Russia), and I would ring and arrange a fight and I would ring them and they would come down to the gym and have a full-blown fight – no head guard, gloves that were small,” he said. “A fight. I’d win, I’d have a war, and I’d win and I’d knock the guy out then I’d go off and celebrate. Then I’d come back in three days – not doing what I should’ve been doing, not living the life I should’ve been.”
“I’m not going back there,” he added. “I’m in a better place. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve been man enough to admit them and correct it, and that’s what I’ve done. I might not be perfect, but with a good sleep and a full belly, I’m damn close.”
Meanwhile, John Kavanagh believes that McGregor’s training has been excellent. The SBG Ireland head coach is adamant that The Notorious is dedicated and focused. To sum up, he’s been training since last April and looks better than ever.
“Is he going to be able to go back through the grueling fight camp for a professional fight? Because there’s one thing training for form … But its very different to the demands of training for a professional fight where it’s twice a day and there’s a lot more impact,” Kavanagh told the Eurobash podcast.
“This training camp started last Easter. He did a boxing contest last Easter and he’s been pretty consistent since then. So you’re talking, it’s almost ten months long [training camp] and in that time, almost no missed sessions. So, It’s been a year coming, he’s not talked about it, he’s just shown it for a year that he has that hunger to train at this level.”
The Irishman is also open to a title contender fight with Justin Gaethje. This would be an incredible match-up from a fan’s perspective because ‘The Highlight’ always brings the heat. However, McGregor confirmed his interest.
“Possibly this year,” McGregor said of the proposed match-up with Gaethje. “I’m going to be active. This is a spar to me. I’m going to go in here and do as I please in here. Put on a show for the fans and get a beautiful win.”
“Going through the divisions, look at me — three weight divisions,” he added. “No one’s doing this. I’m very, very excited and very happy. Long may the opponents continue to come and I’ll continue to knock them down.”