UFC superstar Conor McGregor sat down with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour last week to discuss the doubts he had following an injury that forced him to sit out since 2021, his comeback, and his upcoming plans for the remainder of 2023.
The multi-division champion hasn’t fought since breaking his tibia against Dustin Poirer at UFC 264 in July 2021.
He was unable to continue, and the fight was stopped. Following the loss, he spent an extended amount of time rehabbing the injury.
In the meantime, McGregor had an eventful handful of months that included two different sets of assault allegations. In a case from last year, the complainant was a 42-year-old woman, who also filed a civil suit against the fighter. Prior to that, he had a laundry list of wild and violent incidents.
In 2018, he threw a dolly at a bus after a UFC press conference and was charged with criminal mischief. In 2019, he was caught on video punching a man in a bar in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland.
Later, in 2020, he was accused of sexual assault in France, but no charges were filed due to a lack of evidence.
However, despite his various legal troubles and raucous run-ins over the years, he remains one of the most popular and recognizable athletes in the world. Now, the Dublin Destroyer is undaunted in his desire to get back into the Octagon.
Conor McGregor will face his fellow The Ultimate Fighter 31 coach Michael Chandler later in 2023. But the Notorious One says that he’d like more than just that challenge before the calendar flips over. He wants another challenge on top of that one.
“For sure (two fights in 2023), I can see it moving pretty fast when it moves,” McGregor stated. “We’re gearing up and there’s a lot going on behind the scenes and all, but I feel it will move fast. There’s no issue why it shouldn’t move fast. So I assume late summer [for Chandler], maybe a little bit later depending — I would like that. And then of course, that’s still half the year left.”
“I wish for consistency,” McGregor relayed. “I’m working for consistency. Like I said before, I’ve had this on-off thing for a couple of years and it’s been frustrating, but be it for different reasons. But I’d like to just get past that and just get into this consistency bracket. And I feel I will, I feel I can, and I’m excited for it.”
Despite his desire to do battle now, he admitted to Helwani that there were times when he wasn’t sure he could muster a comeback. And there certainly would have been no shame in retirement for the 34-year-old fighter; he’s already sealed his legacy as a surefire Hall of Famer someday.
Conor McGregor (26-2) is a former UFC Champion in both the lightweight and featherweight divisions. So he knew that he was laying a lot on the line.
“At the time, I thought, ‘You know, maybe I won’t be able to do this again.’ For sure, that was in my thoughts,” McGregor explained. “So thank God, my surgeons, the doctors, the UFC care that I had, and all the help that I got, I was able to recover from it.”
“And I’ve got the power in the leg, I’ve able to brace on it, I’m able to kick with it. I’m kicking hard, I’m kicking fast. And you best believe I’m looking to take this guy out with the steel bar on my leg, for sure,” he declared.
At the end of the day, Conor McGregor summed it all up for Helwani, when he touched on why he feels like he’s still got a lot of fighting left inside him. It was a statement that perfectly encapsulates his high-octane career.
“Competition, man. Competition. It’s the best buzz ever. Why would you not want to do it? How would you not want to make this walk and experience this whole thing? It’s highly addictive and I’m highly addicted. So that’s it.”