The MMA world is in a fever pitched frenzy over the March 5th fight between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. The gates of war were officially flung wide open this past Wednesday at the UFC 196 Press Conference where Nate and Conor had a chance to meet, greet, and insult one another face to face.
However, between the diverse menagerie of insults, barbs, and fictional red panty incest erotica was a surprisingly passionate comment about brain injury from McGregor. Many people may have missed Conor’s insight and opinions on the consequences of long-term brain trauma, but if you listened closely enough they were there tucked between the crowd’s hysterics and chuckles.
“… you can’t take head trauma and bounce back into the gym and spar. These people think they can do that.” – Conor McGregor
Initially, Conor’s comments came off as mere bravado but after an awkward chuckle from the crowd, Conor reasserted his sincerity in what he was saying. “When a man is KO’d unconscious – when a man fights me they need to take ten months to a year off,” stated McGregor. “You can’t bounce back into a fight – and that’s no joke, everyone laughed [here] – you can’t take head trauma and bounce back into the gym and spar. These people think they can do that.”
‘These people’, being a clear reference to his past opponents who have fallen victim to his concussive strikes. The most glaring validation of Conor’s comments occurring in Chad Mendes’ tragic return to the cage quickly after his TKO loss at the hands of McGregor. After a wait of five months from his loss to McGregor, Mendes got back into the cage getting KO’d within the first round by Frankie Edgar at the TUF Finale back in December.
Conor definitely felt there was a correlation saying, “Mendes did that and now his chin will never recover after the fight. He jumped in too early [against Frankie Edgar] and went at it. You need to take proper time.”
Ironically, it was actually McGregor’s recent stint on The Ultimate Fighter which gave viewers a chance to witness, firsthand, his unique style of low wear and tear training. During the show, Conor was adamant that his goal was simply to keep his fighters focused, tuned, and ready opting to not put his team through a grueling regiment of hard drills and live sparring in addition to their multiple planned fights. By focusing more on movement, fluidity, and drilling and less on barbaric caveman sparring (that typifies most gyms around the world) Conor was able to keep his team healthy and win the team competition aspect of the show.
“Dos Anjos broke his foot and his vagina in the same damn day.” – Conor McGregor
However, McGreggor’s comments about ‘taking time to heal’ did seem to come with a slight contradiction as he lambasted Rafael Dos Anjos for dropping out of the fight due to a foot injury. When the topic of Dos Anjos’ injured foot came up, Conor joked how if he went under the X-ray machine right now that his doctors would be calling him insane for still taking the fight.
“When you pull out with an injury like that – a bruise on the foot – there’s not much else I can do to help you, to bring you back into the mix,” said McGregor. “They all have sore vaginas lately. It’s crazy, there’s something going on. Dos Anjos broke his foot and his vagina in the same damn day.”
Admittedly, there is a massive difference between the skeletal and muscular damage of limb injury compared to the neurological degradation that can be caused in live sparring and fighting. As the sport of MMA grows older so does it’s early legends. Among them, we are already starting to see the ravages of the sport taking their psychological and neurological toll on the sport’s toughest fighters. Mirko Crocop and Chuck Liddell are suspected of already suffering from dementia pugilistica while fighters like Gary Goodridge have already been very vocal about their current struggles with brain degeneration.
“… I bounced Jose’s head off the canvas like a basketball. He needs to take a year to a year and a half off and that’s just for his health.” – Conor McGregor
It’s clear that Conor is not scared of suffering the same fate, but he is evidently trying to be smart and aware of the hazards that head trauma can bring. If he doesn’t have any concern for his own safety, at least, it can be said that he cares about his victims. Commenting on why Jose Aldo wasn’t able to take the last minute fight, Conor had some sympathy and respect for the Brazilian’s recovery. “…I bounced Jose’s head off the canvas like a basketball. He needs to take a year to a year and a half off and that’s just for his health.”
With his frequent fight schedule, it’s easy to imagine McGregor as some sort of gnarly grizzled berzerker who will come to the fight with busted bones and a bit of wear. His reputation has definitely shown him as such. So it’s refreshing when one of MMA’s toughest fighters is so vocal and savvy about the health concerns that are currently plaguing the sport’s legendary athletes.
“You can’t rush into it,” said Conor about coming back to the cage too soon. “If you take head trauma you sit your ass back in the queue and rest and come back healthy.”
Who will Conor McGregor fight next in the UFC?
Conor McGregor has announced via Instagram that he intends to return to fighting and he even revealed that he had offered to replace the injured Max Holloway in the main event of UFC 222.
He did say however that the UFC rejected the opportunity to have him headline against Frankie Edgar as he was told “there wasn’t enough time to generate the money that the UFC would need”.
With his return seemingly imminent and an already proposed fight with Frankie Edgar falling through here’s a look at the men who could be standing across the cage from the “Notorious One” upon his return to the octagon.
Let’s start with the man McGregor claims he was ready to fight next month, Frankie Edgar.
It’s a fight that has been rumoured and talked about for years now, but has always failed to become a reality and right now I believe each mans future lies elsewhere.
Although I believe Edgar would choose a fight with McGregor over a title fight with Holloway, his next bout should finally be for the real featherweight title, providing he beats Ortega at UFC 222. McGregor on the other hand, is unlikely to want the Edgar fight now given the much more lucrative options at his disposal.
If you’re a fan still clinging to hope that you will one day see this match up, I hate to break it to you but the only place you’ll be seeing this match up anytime soon is on UFC 3.
The winner of Ferguson vs Khabib
If UFC 223 goes as planned then we will see a new UFC Lightweight champion. It means Conor McGregor will be without a belt for the first time since December 2015 and it would be no surprise to see him want his belt back instantly.
As a competitor the winner of this fight represents the best the division has to offer. As a businessman the winner of this fight represents the best the division has to offer.
It is the fight that makes sense, but as we know, sense doesn’t always prevail in the UFC. But, the winner of this bout being the next to face McGregor, is a real possibility.
Conor McGregor is no longer the man at featherweight, Max Holloway is.
Does that hurt McGregor’s ego? Maybe. There has been a lot more activity on McGregor’s social media channels about his fight with Holloway. Most notably the “I miss those sunglasses” post. Which certainly has a hint of jealousy to it. Perhaps McGrgeor wants to remind fans of what he can do at featherweight?
Although I think McGregor’s days at featherweight are pretty much over, I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility that we see this fight at lightweight. But I don’t believe this fight is next for either man.
Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor have both announced their comebacks in quick succession of each other. Could it mean they’re coming back for a fight this summer? Who knows.
But one things for sure, the trilogy fight will happen. It has the potential to be even bigger than the first two fights and will surely bring in a boat load of cash. Enough to motivate the two rivals to meet in the octagon again.
The fight seems inevitable and it has every chance of being the next fight for McGregor.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather Jr. in the octagon has been teased since before his boxing match with Conor McGregor and the ongoing speculation seems never ending.
But it’s wishful thinking to believe that Mayweather Jr. will repay the favour to McGrgeor by competing in his sport.
This sport has taught us to never say never and many of us would have never envisioned McGregor competing in boxing, but here we are. But this is just a whole new level of unlikely.
Dana White gives an update on the lightweight title picture
When it comes to the lightweight division there is always a lot of talk with very little clarification. But now it seems Dana White has had enough of waiting for champion Conor McGregor and plans to move on in his absence.
“The Notorious” Conor McGregor won the UFC lightweight title back in November 2016 at UFC 205 where he became the first fighter to hold two belts simultaneously, however, he has not competed in MMA since.
Speaking on Sunday night’s after UFC Fight Night St. Louis UFC President Dana White said “Conor has said he is thinking about coming back in September if he comes back in September that’s almost two years, that can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else. Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything he’s done for this company, everybody knows that I say it all the time. The belt would have to move on.”
White also spoke about the two men that would fight for the lightweight belt saying “You do Khabib versus Tony, we’re working on that fight now and if and when Conor comes back he would get the first crack at the title.”
Then when presenter Karyn Bryant pushed for clarification and asked: “So you’re saying that Conor could possibly be stripped of his title?” Dana responded without hesitation “absolutely”.
"Conor has said he's thinking about coming back in September. If he comes back in September, that's almost two years…that can't happen." — @danawhite
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) January 15, 2018
The news will excite UFC fans across the globe who have been clamoring for the Ferguson vs Khabib matchup which they have been denied on three separate occasions. No date was confirmed for the potential matchup but rumors have been circulating that the UFC is targeting UFC 223 in April.
Conor McGregor reacts to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win at UFC 219
On Saturday night the world watched as Khabib Nurmagomedov dismantled the striking expert Edson Barboza at UFC 219. The reactions were filled with praise for the undefeated Russian fighter. Media members and fans alike were calling Nurmagomedov one of the best lightweights in the world, but there is one man the world was waiting to hear from, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. McGregor was silent following the fight between Nurmagomedov and Barboza, that is until Monday morning when he took to Twitter to state his opinion about the Number one contender.
That Dagestani was dog shit the other night you's are all nuts. Game full of sloppy bums asking to be slept. Pay me my worth and Kings back.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
Truly truly truly get on your fucking knees and beg me. Otherwise I don't give a bollox.
My whiskey is out this year and thats Diddy bread.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
“Truly truly truly get on your fucking knees and beg me,” McGregor wrote on Twitter. “Otherwise, I don’t give a bollox. My whiskey is out this year and that’s Diddy bread.” The whiskey that McGregor is referring to is his very own grand that he announced would be coming out following his loss to Floyd Mayweather this past August.
Rumors about McGregor’s return have ranged from him retiring from fighting to live a life of wealth with his family, to expect his return to the UFC this summer. No one really knows if McGregor will ever defend his UFC lightweight belt, but if he is to do so UFC President Dana White has said that it will be against interim champion Tony Ferguson.
Ferguson was also seeking a fight with Nurmagomedov prior to winning the interim belt against Kevin Lee. It is entirely possible that we will see these two battle for the interim title in the octagon before we see the return of Conor McGregor. Of course, these days there are no guarantees in regards to title contention, McGregor and his camp have publically stated that they would like to face Nurmagomedov in his home country of Russia.
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