The press conference for the new main event at UFC 196 between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz took place today, with most expecting fireworks. True to form, the duo delivered and then some.
Initially the conference was delayed somewhat due to McGregor being late, but, going against what recent history would suggest, Diaz’s punctuality was perfect. When McGregor arrived and the press conference could begin, both men jumped in with both feet.
McGregor emerged holding his UFC featherweight title aloft to a raucous ovation from the crowd in attendance. When McGregor was asked what role he played in getting the fight set up, McGregor responded in typical fashion. “I’m involved in absolutely everything to do with this. I created this. I thought I was in his home town, this is the west coast but listen to the crowd for me. Nate was the leading option. There were many, many options but in reality, lots of people pretended they wanted the fight until the fight actually presented itself.”
Getting more specific, he then referred to some of those he was referring to. “Frankie never shut up,” he said. “And when he was given a phone call and a date, he hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Jose also. Jose was in camp, apparently preparing incase Dos Anjos pulled out and all of a sudden, Dos Anjos pulls out with his bruised foot and Jose isn’t fit. Even Nate tried to exit the fight cleanly. The first discussion was the money issue, we resolved that. Then he could only make 160, then 165 so I told him ‘get comfortable, you can make 170’ and we’re gonna fight. I look forward to it.”
McGregor then talked about his reaction upon hearing of lightweight champion Dos Anjos’s injury. “I just thought ‘It’s another day.’ They always run. . They always make it out like they want it. They don’t want it so I was expecting it. I looked at the picture he put up. It’s a bruise. I heard ice works wonders.” He went on to reveal that the fact that he will not be fighting for the lightweight belt “stung a bit” but that “It doesn’t matter about weight divisions or anything or what belt is on the line. Really, I should create my own belt. Because I am my own belt. It’s the McGregor belt. Featherweight to lightweight to welterweight, it’s the McGregor belt so that’s it.”
When Diaz got his chance, he emphatically denied McGregor’s earlier claims that he looked for a way out of the fight, stating “I came to fight, they asked me to fight and I said yes from the beginning, so whatever problems they had, I dunno. I came ready to fight. Any weight class, it didn’t matter. There was no hesitation on my part, I was ready to rock the whole time. I said that months ago.”
McGregor was quick to counter that, repeating that Diaz turned down 155 pounds, then 160 and 165, to which Diaz took exception and the duo began to engage in a heated argument, much to the crowd’s delight. McGregor then turned things up a notch. “I like Nick’s little brother,” he said. “He’s like a little cholo gangster from the hood, but at the same time he teaches kids jiu-jitsu on a Sunday morning and goes on bike rides with the elderly. He makes gun signs with the right hand and animal balloons with the left hand.”
Diaz was unimpressed with McGregor and unleased an expletive laden tirade. “F*ck you, f*ck your belt, I don’t give a f*uck what you say mother*cker. F*ck your bitch-ass belt too.” That last sentence, McGregor would echo. “F*ck the belt, I don’t give a f*ck about the belt. The only thing I give a f*ck about is the cheque – and my cheques are super heavy.”
It was the turn of Diaz to make an accusation next – that of steroid use. “Everybody’s on steroids,” he claimed. “The whole UFC, everybody.” However, McGregor seemed bothered by that claim and was quick to point out the failings of two team mates of Diaz. “Your teammates Gil (Melendez) and Jake (Shields) got caught. Not me. What the f*ck are you talking about? I’m not on steroids. Your two boys ‘The Scrap Pack’, did you know they were on that stuff?” Diaz declined to answer that question, simply repeating his accusation, but directly this time. “You’re on steroids.” McGregor replied , sarcastically “Sure I am,” before confidently stating “I’m just an animal.”
McGregor has become famous for his predictions of how his fights will go and, due to the short notice, he believes that he will finish Diaz “by the end of round one”, but made clear that he does respect his opponent. “Don’t get me wrong, I respect Nate. There are a lot of pussies in this game and he ain’t one of them. So there’s respect, but it’s business and business is business. He will be KO’d inside the first round.”
His opponent was less inclined to make any sort of prediction, shaking his head when asked if he wished to make one. However, he was more forthcoming about his game plan for the fight. “I’m just coming to kill or be killed. I’m coming to win.”
McGregor went on to reiterate that he respected Diaz for taking the fight when “all the others went quiet”, but that compliment was instantly followed by an insult. “When most people get that red panty night against me, they call their wife and say ‘we did it.’ Nate rings Nick ‘baby we did it!’ So I’m happy to give Nate the pay cheque. Nate, congratulations. You’re rich now.” To which Diaz responded “Congratulations to you motherf*cker. I’m the show.” He would go on to repeat that moments later, stating “It’s the Diaz show too.”
McGregor would make another characteristically bold claim regarding the fight, with “I feel myself and Nate have a similar will, but the skill doesn’t match the will and that will be the difference.” Diaz had a much more simplistic view of how the bout will go down. “We’re gonna fight,” he said, with traditional Diaz bluntness.
McGregor, who is widely expected to be part of the upcoming UFC 200 card in July, said that it would be difficult to commit to fighting dos Anjos again due to his withdrawal and compared it to Jose Aldo needing two attempts to “pluck up the courage” to face him. He would go on to take a swipe at both the lightweight champion, as well as the potential next challenger for his featherweight title, Frankie Edgar. “They all have sore vaginas lately,” he began. “It’s crazy. There’s something going on. Dos Anjos broke his foot and his vagina in the same day and the same with Edgar. I couldn’t believe the odds on that happening.”
With respect to his last opponent, Jose Aldo, who also turned down this fight due to a lack of fitness, McGregor expressed his wish that Aldo take some time off to recover from his knockout loss to the Irishman, claiming that Chad Mendes came back too soon following his loss to McGregor and that “his chin will never recover” following a second consecutive knockout loss to Edgar. “I bounced Jose’s head off the canvas like a basketball,” he shrugged, switching back to the former champion. “He needs to take a year to a year and a half off for his health. He put out statements saying he’s ready to fight me ‘anywhere, anytime’, his coach claims he’s in camp ready incase dos Anjos pulls out, then when dos Anjos does pull out, he’s gone. I don’t know. Personally, he shouldn’t have put his name in the mix in the first place. You take head trauma, you sit your ass at the back of the queue and come back healthy.”
Following McGregor’s claims that Diaz was “amateurish” in his movement around the cage, Diaz questioned McGregor’s team mates, claiming “You’ve got no training partners.” When McGregor pointed out that he had a UFC title and mocked the pay Diaz received in his last outing, Diaz seemed unimpressed. “You’re the midget weight division champion. You fight little guys, I’ve been fighting grown-ups for ten years. You knocked out three midgets and you’re pumped up. I’m a real motherf*cking fighter.”
Finally, there was talk about the money that both would earn in this fight, with Diaz claiming that “They (the UFC) gave me a f*ck load of money and I said ‘I want more of that shit.’” Going on to say that, with his winnings, he would buy “a whole bunch of nice shit.” McGregor, for his part, stating “I’m just motivated by movement and money and the movement of money. That’s why you see me here in this prize fighting ring, running this thing.”
The foes then engaged in the first face-off since the fight was announced and, although they were kept at a safe distance from each other with the UFC’s Dave Sholler in the middle as well as three bulky security guards standing behind them, just in case, the staredown was a highly heated affair, with some words exchanged. Particularly following this press conference, March 5th and UFC 196 cannot come quick enough for fight fans across the world.
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Conor McGregor has ‘Every intention of fighting in 2018’
Despite being inactive since his historic boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August, Conor McGregor is never far from the headlines. Recently his out of cage antics have got people questioning if he’ll ever be back.
Thankfully the UFC lightweight champion appears to have cleared up any rumors about his fighting career.
Speaking to his sponsor Betsafe, the “Notorious” Conor McGregor said “My focus is getting back into the right ring or octagon. 2017 was historic. I have transcended both the sport of MMA and boxing. At this stage of my career, as it has been for the majority of my UFC career, potential opponents must lobby for fights with me. We could see Conor McGregor anywhere. I run the fight game, the fashion game, the whiskey game or whatever the next business endeavor might be”.
McGregor added, “I have every intention of fighting in 2018 if my compensation and business development endeavors accurately reflect my influence on combat sports.”
This comes just two weeks after UFC President Dana White told reporters “Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got $100 (expletive) million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working.”
White went on to say “Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything with a lot of people.”
White also told reporters that the “Notorious one”, “can’t be paid enough money” and that he is “worth every penny and more.” McGregor’s recent statement suggests he knows that and won’t be back till his demands are met.
The UFC lightweight division has been stalled in the absence of the champion McGregor and now the interim champion Tony Ferguson has undergone surgery. The UFC has been known the remove belts from fighters who have been delayed for extended amounts of time, this would be highly unlikely with the popularity of McGregor.
Will Conor McGregor ever fight again?
The future of the UFC’s biggest ever star is in doubt. But it was also never a secret. “The Notorious” Conor McGregor always made his intentions clear, “Get in. Get rich. Get out”. And now he’s rich, very rich.
Get in. Get rich. Get out.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) August 12, 2014
In 2008 at the age of 20 a baby-faced, clean-shaven McGregor stated his ambitions for his MMA career after just 5 professional fights. He said “My dream is to be world champion in the UFC, have more money than I know what to do with, and have a great life for my kids, my grandkids, everyone in my family, everyone that’s come up with me. That’s my dream”.
Along his journey, McGregor has never kept his intentions to himself. At first, it was to get into the UFC. Then it was the featherweight belt. Then it was to replicate what he had done in his previous promotion, to become the UFC’s first simultaneous two-weight world champion.
The issue now is that McGregor has achieved everything he has set out to do. From world titles to being a multi-millionaire, he’s done it all. And now there is no statement of intent. No dream to chase.
Since he’s achieved everything he said he ever wanted, where does the hunger for more come from? Currently, it doesn’t appear to be there.
Since the last time we saw McGregor with gloves on, the charismatic Irishman has seemingly gone off the rails. There was the Bellator 187 incident in Dublin, where McGregor stormed the cage and pushed veteran referee Marc Goddard and slapped an official. But more recently the Irish Daily Mail has reported that McGregor was involved in a bar fight in his native Crumlin, where he is believed to have punched an associate of a major crime gang in Dublin. Whether this is true or not, it is still something a UFC champion and role model shouldn’t be associated with.
From the outside, McGregor’s life is more about hours spent at the club rather than the gym.
But who can blame the man for enjoying the fruits of his labor? He is acting how most 29-year-old men would if they had just received $100 million.
This is his life’s work paying off.
After McGregor’s loss at UFC 196, he wanted an immediate rematch against Nate Diaz at the same weight. It showed us he’s a true martial artist with the heart of a lion. It showed his desperation to get that win back and prove he is the better competitor. And when he won, he proved all his doubters wrong as he walked on crutches through the corridor of the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas screaming “doubt me now”.
But after his loss to Mayweather Jr., there has seemingly been no desire to arrange a fight to get back in the win column.
It’s easy to forget during this period of inactivity that McGregor is one of the most active guys in MMA. From UFC 194 to UFC 205, McGregor competed in 4 fights at 3 different weight classes against high caliber opponents inside the space of 11 months. The truth is he deserves a well-earned rest.
However, in a recent media scrum, Dana White confirmed that Conor was looking to fight before the end of the year but had been pulled from UFC 219 as punishment for the incident at Bellator 187.
Dana also told the reporters in the room “Conor might never fight again. The guys got $100 million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working”.
White also said, “Try and get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank”.
The two statements from Dana are very contradicting as he isn’t sure McGregor will ever fight again, but at the same time he wanted to fight on December 30th. Maybe Dana is struggling to pick apart the mind of Conor McGregor as much as we are.
There are plenty of reasons why Conor should never come back.
Not only is he set for life but he’s also healthy. McGregor is extremely conscious about his health and has mentioned several times throughout his career about the importance of keeping your brain healthy.
But there are plenty of reasons why he should he come back.
He loves to fight and he loves making money. He needs to capitalize on that whilst he can.
McGregor doesn’t have to settle for one big payday, he has matchups waiting for him such as Ferguson, Diaz, and GSP. There is always the welterweight belt and his Croke Park dream. And the door is open for a return to boxing, especially with fighters like De La Hoya, Pacquiao, and Malignaggi calling him out.
He’s also at the peak in terms of age and physique and in terms of power. Where he has the whole MMA world on strings with every small move he makes.
There is no knowing if McGregor will ever fight again. If McGregor returns to his usual self, he will likely be back in the first quarter of 2018, where he will fight frequently. But as time ticks on and there is no fight announcement McGregor may be stripped of his belt never to be seen again.
He got in. He got rich. Is he out? Let us know.
Manny Pacquiao Hints at Possible 2018 Fight with Conor McGregor
Here we go again. Just when we thought Conor McGregor was set on a return to the octagon, boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has seemingly called out the charismatic Irishman with his latest Instagram post.
It appears the current senator of the Philippines also wants a trip on the money train that is Conor McGregor, as he sent out this cryptic message on his Instagram.
The caption reads “Happy thanksgiving! Stay fit my friend. #realboxingmatch #2018 @thenotoriousmma”.
This comes a week after retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya claimed he has been secretly training for a bout with “The Notorious One.” Speaking on ‘Golden Boy Radio with Tattoo and the Crew’, De La Hoya claimed “I’m faster than ever and stronger than ever. I know I can take out Conor McGregor out in two rounds”.
After his most recent loss to Australian boxer Jeff Horn, retirement looked imminent for ‘Pac-Man’. But a shot at McGregor and the pay day his name brings, appears to be far too tempting.
McGregor loves to test himself and he loves money. So he will be licking his lips just thinking about the opportunity to get back in the ring against a high calibre opponent like Pacquiao. Not just to make money, but to prove his doubters wrong after his boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor’s immediate future looks set to be a fight with Tony Ferguson in 2018. But after that who knows what the future holds for the UFC lightweight champion.
If McGregor’s next fight is a boxing match with Pacquiao, then it could spell the end of his title reign. As Ferguson likes to say it’s ‘defend or vacate’ time.
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