Dana White, Ultimate Fighting Championship, Jake Paul, Conor McGregor, Mixed martial arts, Zuffa, Dustin Poirier Stephen A. interviews Conor McGregor on expectations for the Dustin Poirier trilogy fight | ESPN MMA

First things: first you’re the first athlete i’ve ever interviewed. That is dressed better than me. I just want that. I just want that on the record. Okay, so congratulations on that, but i got to ask you this question. As we sit here right now, just days removed from your third year, trilogy with dustin poirier, why are you here? Why are you here, considering all that you’ve accomplished in your life and in your career? Why are you here for this fight? I love the trail of it stephen, i love it all. I love the fight. I love the business about it. I love everything about it. People ask me that all the time, why am i here i’m? You know, am i too accomplished to be here. You know but it’s what i love to do. It’S all i do, but if people are asking you that question, they obviously feel that looking at you, they believe that you may have lost something forget skill for a second i’m talking about passion, you’ve got people questioning whether or not the passion to do. This is still there for you. Where do you think they get that from you know? Am i the hungry lion i once was, you know, maybe not it’s, certainly different, but i’m. I’M. I’M. Now the fat cat. You know what i mean: i’m, the fat cat pulling all the strings around here, that’s an even more dangerous individual. So you know and i’m also you know cutting weight, so i am hungry, so i’m eager to get in there and prove all all the people uh.

You know all my doubters wrong and all my support is correct. You know i do a lot of this for fans. I love to i love to get in and get in and show my appreciation for the fans. Some people don’t believe some people believe, however, that you’re not as dangerous as you used to be yeah. Well, they don’t feel that way. Okay, because because you know you every time i sit in in an interview, it’s, oh, why are you here? You have too much money you’re too successful, you’re doing it all blah blah blah. You know when the last fight i kind of bought into that you know. I was in the press conference and a guy was reading out a quote of mine from many years ago, where i was like you know. Talking about. I can’t wait: i’m gon na i’m gon na put my mother in a mansion i’m gon na you know my girlfriend’s gon na have a car for every day of the week, and you know i was feeding into that wow. I did all this. You know i i’m, not even i’m, where i am i’m grateful i’m, proud of where i am, and what i’ve achieved, but there’s a lot more left in me, i’m still very young i’m, very fresh in the game and i’m, a dangerous man, steve and i’m. The most dangerous of them all – you know – i mean this. I have 19 knockouts in my mixed martial arts career saturday night.

I will get my 20th it’ll, be my 12th ufc main event. Only 22 years of age, fresh fresh, is anything i’m ready to go so i’m gon na prove how dangerous i am because trust me in the mindset i’m in i’m, really really dangerous. This man is not it’s, not gon na, be pretty what’s gon na happen to this man in here, let’s rewind the clock to the press conferences leading up to the sequel between you and dustin poirier people looked at you and said you were incredibly nice. You were nicer than anybody had ever seen: conor mcgregor be yes towards an opponent. Why was that you know, i feel almost pity for some of them some people in the game. To be honest, i had a little bit of pity for dustin. You know he’s he’s been around many years and i was it’s not a pretty game for a lot of people in this business, and i just came back and you know, wanted to be respectful and you know give it give the jews, and you know that this Time you know it wasn’t it wasn’t reciprocated. It was. It was shady it’s, not that i didn’t know about it, it’s, not that i didn’t know the intentions, but now now the intentions are clear and i’m going to punish him for that. How was it shady? What did he do that major just a few things, you know just a few things on national television tell us how what are those people throughout the build up with certain things, certain discussions, we’ve had and just just shady behavior i’m, not in the business of explaining Any of it, but no the mana is going to pay for it when they look at you and they saw a guy that’s that’s the excuse in terms of dustin poirier, nice guy.

You felt bad for him et cetera, et cetera, but you they’re, looking at you and they’re saying. Maybe you were a nice guy because again you’re thinking about all that you stephen, i am a nice guy. Okay, you know, i am a nice guy. You know what i mean it’s just about not translating it into the game. You can’t be nice in this business, that’s for sure, no matter what you know, what i mean you’ve got to be ruthless in it, i’ve got to stay ruthless, that’s that’s. What i’ve been saying you know in in the most rootless business of all, i am the most ruthless and that’s that’s what it is and that’s where, where i am, what happened in the octagon in general, you know there was a lot of free. There was a lot of freebies, given there was a lot of free things. Given there was there was there was weight on the scales given there were shots in the octagon, given there was plugs and support, given there’s nothing free. Given this time, everything is getting took and that’s that’s. The mindset here is that why you lost yeah, i would say so. There’S a i mean there’s, a few things, a tactical you know i wasn’t like i said i pitied the man to be honest, which i wasn’t. I was looking past him. I had a manny pacquiao camp in place and that was three quarters of the camp.

So you know i’ve dialed it back in i’ve focused on the skills and the tactical errors, and things like that – and here we are, you know: it’s been full uh focus on mixed martial arts practice and i’m ready to go. They look at conor mcgregor right now. The novices, not the avid followers who know the sport i’m talking about fans i’m talking about fans i’m, not talking about the fight, but just the fan watching you fight they’ve, seen you lose to the mega metal. They saw him wrestle and maul and grapple. They saw you lose to dustin pourie, and they said those calf kicks really hit you. I know what i peeled from it was that excuse me that that that that leg, that front leg of yours was ready. Don’T forget he also shuffled his legs 20 seconds in you know almost as fast as the tiger standing did, that the dagestani shot for the legs for the takedown 15 seconds into the first round. Dustin was 20 seconds. You know they know what’s what they can say. What they want, they know the danger that they that they face now it’s. You know, i understand they fight they fight, they fight me afraid they die for the legs. They try and stall positions. They share. Look. They look to kick the legs. There’S there’s, things i’m. Aware of now and i’ve made adjustments, and i look forward to you know correcting it. I became a fan of this sport in large part for watching somebody like you knock people out.

You know that my record in mixed martial arts competition is 19 wins and one loss. I only count knockouts, i only count. Knockouts dustin’s, win, justine’s dustin’s record is 13 wins two losses. The only thing that’s final in this business is a knockout all the other. The decisions, the tabs all that means nothing to me, uncommon to take a man’s head off and that’s it. You know what i mean i was. I was aiming to put a few holes in his head. The last time now i’m going to put a few holes in his head and send it into the bleachers. What about somebody that looks at conor, mcgregor and said? Excuse me, sir, that just happened to you. What do you say to them about that yeah? Well, here we go again: i’m back, you know what i mean so let’s go. I look at it and i say to myself right now: conor mcgregor, you don’t want to stand straight up with him still because he’ll put you to sleep, he’ll knock you out, but if you grapple him, if you calf, kick him excuse me, you you, you mess With his lower extremities that’s hard for him to take that’s, not the fight that conor mcgregor wants to because before he fought floyd mayweather, he was talking about fighting manny, pacquiao he’s, addicted to the knockout addicted to striking. If you go away from that that’s how you beat conor mcgregor to that you say what yeah try it now try it now.

You know what i mean. This is i’m opening up the up the targets: i’m, opening up the toolbox. You know what i mean it’s just about going into my toolbox, it’s it’s vast. You know i mean my stances, my approaches, my attacks, my shots, so i’m gon na whip out all the weapons here and i’m aware of what you know that panic shot the panic in his body it’s. I see it all written all over him. I saw it in the first fight when i sparked him. You know what even started in the in the second foot. I just was. You know i just wanted to pat him on the head. Almost you know that’s kind of the way i felt with it, but that’s gone now: he’s gon na it’s it’s on now i’m interjecting, because he actually admitted it was almost like a flash ko. You hit him, you caught him. He sent an electric bolts through his body and he said you know, but you didn’t follow up. Why not because here’s another thing, because i was trying to get the rounds. I wanted to get rounds here, but then i realized i’m not paid for the hour here. There’S, none of that going on this time. Trust me on that. I send electric bolts to his entire body from his head to his toes. You can see him rattled in the octagon in the first round and in the second round he was out on his feet.

So he knows it as well, as i know it and that’s it’s going to be it’s going to be a butchering. Let me rewind back and get a little personal with you here about something i did a little research doing a little reading and i heard that conor mcgregor was once a plumber’s apprentice, that’s right i’m back on the building sites. Now, stephen i’m back on the building that’s, my mindset, yeah i’m i’m forbes the highest paid athlete on the forbes list this year, but now in my mind, i’m back on the sites going back on the building, so it’s. What a hoavey isn’t a hard hat and a hammering in me hand i’m asking this question, because in doing that research, i read that your parents didn’t want you to get into this game. You even got into a fight with your dad until you want, until you told him one day, you’re going to see i’m going to be a millionaire, and you told him that, and you obviously excuse me when that conversation was going on with my parents. You were in the same boat as my parents. There was no game, it wasn’t. I was getting into a game. There was no game. I made this game. I built it up. My father said to me who, like at the time i think it was chuck liddell and tito and those guys that were kind of you know what and i was like how much do they make.

Can you make a living out of it and you couldn’t so i’m just trying to convince i’m going to make a living now this i’m going to make it a business where you can make it a living and that’s? That was basically it. So you know they didn’t know what it was. You know, but that’s where i’m going, because you accomplished those goals, obviously making your family proud. You got a proud, you’re, proud papa for connor jr, all of the stuff that you’ve accomplished all the great things that you’ve achieved in your career. Is it possible that no matter what you say that you’re sitting back knowing that everything’s going to be all right? No matter what that’s the fire that people is questioning whether or not they’re still there with conor mcgregor because of that yeah. What do you say today? I mean i’m coming in to kill this man i’m, coming in with with vicious intent here, murder shots. So you know what else can i say: that’s that’s the way it is. I don’t care about nothing here, i’m coming to take this man out cold and if you don’t, do it it’s doing it’s dawn it’s already done okay. So if you do do it, it’s done what does that mean for your future in the ufc on to the next one on to the next one i i flew in on the ghost now we saw the allegiant stadium, which is a phenomenal looking stadium i’d, like To fight that at the end of the year, this is what i love to do born and bred to do this, like i said you can go back way in time.

My name, my family name, are bred on the battlefield swinging pickaxes on the back of a horse. You know what i mean that’s, where the mcgregor name comes from. We come from the scottish highlands. We’Re warriors it’s, all i know it’s all we know so i’m going to be doing it for a long long time. Yet when you say a long long time, like you said, you’re, 32 years of age, how long are we talking 332 that’s? You know what i mean i’m doing this until the day i go out right. You know, i mean if you look at tyson. Tyson came back at a phenomenal performance against roy jones jr, and i was you know. It was great to see tyson come back like that great to see roy as well. I thought i was very impressed with the with the performance people walk away from the sport. It’S, not like your physical body. Lets you down, it’s, just a mental fatigue of it. All you know what i mean tyson said: a quote that uh i was interested in. He said what would cuss say to you if uh, if he was to cut the model custom customer said you now know that you’re coming back. He said what took you so long, and i agree with that. You know what i mean i’m going to keep going and that’s it you’ll, never get rid of me this game. This game is mine. This city, las vegas, is a mine.

This world is mine saturday, night i’m, gon na show that – and i asked this question because i also read about – and people talk about things like this, where okay, it’s, the fame and people think about okay, so i’ve got fame and i’m comfortable, and that might be The reason where, in fact, the reason might be the people that you got to ward off because everybody wants a piece of you once you’re that champion kamaru’s mom spoke about being a champion at home. He is a bomb of a thing. Don’T even don’t, mind him. You know there’s, no, celebrity there’s, no fantasy. That thing is nada, nothing not even on the radar of anything fame and celebrity there’s pitfalls for it. But i am no celebrity people. Mistake me for a celebrity. I break people’s faces from money and bounce that’s. What i do so saturday, night, i’m gon na, do it again who’s next, assuming you beat dustin, i i i would go for that lightweight belt, the lightweight belt. Of course, okay oliveira, the the brazilian okay, then we’ll, look to replicate we’ll, go back up, weight, divisions and whatnot. What about nate diaz, the trilogy of course that’s? All that has to happen that must take place. That fight will take place. Of course, i uh yeah about five times i’m thinking about that. Because again i go back to you. Connor the mega medal off loss, that’s temporary where’s, he gumbo where’s.

He now he’s retired yeah boy. He went splendan he’s gone his jocks fat and roid and i’ve been doing nothing in the sport. All he done in the sport yeah, oh brilliant, he was totally in the know. Fighting goes with three wins and six losses. It was as far as shows his father had the shows set up and he was pointing blatant guys with like two wins and eight losses and all that’s his record up until he’s 20. You know he has three fights on the trot in the ufc before that. That that done him well and then, before that it’s, nothing it’s, pull outs. Couldn’T, make way. You know that’s that’s that’s, not the last time and now he’s gone okay. The last time we spoke, you said stephen it’s hard to get fights. People are not giving me fights, people are running from me, so i haven’t been able to been act to be active, and that has a lot to do with some of the struggles that i’ve had in recent memory. Do you still hold that position that that’s? The reason why you’ve been struggling, of course, yeah i’m on a nice little path right now, with it’s, more it’s, not so much to the opponents. There is a bit of that with the opponent of course, it’s more, the behind the scenes, the business aspects and things like that. You know that’s kind of what’s halted it a little bit but, like i said, i’m on a great path now we’ve got this trilogy.

We’Ve got big things planned for after and i’m excited about it. Do you feel the ufc is in a good place or does the ufc need you? You know the uc is in a great place, i’m, very proud to have assisted in that in a major major way. You know what i mean long. You know i’m here for it. You know i may continue with a lot of love for the company i’ve been here since the fertitta days and i’m here in the new age, and you know i’m, very, very honored – to be associated with with the company. Of course, you know yourself, stephen you’re sitting here in front of me. You know i mean don’t get stephen a out here unless it’s unless it’s me, you know what i mean. You know it’s it’s, be it’s big style and i’m very proud and honored to be to be to be doing it. I appreciate that answer, but i did ask a direct question: does the ufc in the year 2021 need conor mcgregor yeah foreign, but i am forever? I am forever my accomplishments are forever my my knockouts are forever my rune is forever. You know. My domination of two divisions is forever, and you know what’s what’s to come is going to be more forever. What if the ufc says, that’s true, but we need you to win yeah well, we need you to win that’s what i’m? Not so sad tonight, saturday night you’re going to see a dominant performance.

Have you ever felt pressure? No in your career. The way are you feeling pressure, no, not at all, no, no, not at all. You think you think the way the last one went. I should be feeling less. I should be less confident, i’m, actually more confident to be honest with you how it went so i don’t feel pressure. Why are you more confident just the way the last fight went? You know the way. I was the way the way you know it’s it’s funny, watching the way the man thinks and the way the team, the opposite team things like it’s it’s, going to be nasty in here, stephen it’s, going to be nasty in here on saturday night what’s, the difference Between conor mcgregor that one in 2014 to dustin and conor mcgregor lost in 2021. You know relishing in i’m, accomplished i’ve done it all i’m. You know i i i’ve got rid of that. You know what i mean. How did you get rid of it? I’M up here, just told myself, just went back, went back in time. You know what i mean not even back in time. Just just i sure, should i lost it happened. You know what i mean i’m about to lose and so that’s. What that says that happening. Naturally, you know what i mean sometimes that’s. Sometimes the defeat is what you needed. The feet is the secret ingredient to success. You know what i mean so it’s, not that it’s not that taking it out it’s after taking those accomplishments on my belly and i’m hungry to get back.

You know what i mean: i’m, a fat cat, that’s hungry and that’s a dangerous, dangerous man. When you lost to nate diaz, you disappeared for a little while you didn’t want to do press tours or anything like that. You were focused on avenging the loss to him. Yeah is that the similar feeling to what you have yeah we’re dusting right now or is it worse, yeah it’s, more venomous, there’s, more yeah, it’s, more venomous for sure? Why is that yeah just the way things have have went, i don’t know just you know. Another thing i’ve not brought my family with me this time you know, and that has definitely there’s it’s hard to juggle it’s hard to go, face to face and want to tear through a man and then hold your your son or your daughter and give them a Bottle you know and feed them, and this type of thing so i’ve stayed away from that for this one and i’ve. Actually, i feel i feel great i’ve, not i’ve not switched roles. Almost i’ve stayed in the in in in that mode that i need to be in, and you know, even if i would say like rest days, you know like on a rest day when i would have rest day around my family it’s not really a rest day. I’M playing with the kids i’m busy it’s. My rest days have been true rest day. So then, when i go again for my next round of work, i’m, energized, i’m, refreshed and it’s, you know shown in the in the practice room.

Was that your idea, or was it a loved one, someone close to you that suggested that’s? What you know, yeah it’s my idea, you know it’s not an idea, it’s, just it’s what i’m it’s, what i’m doing and that’s that’s the way it is so saturday night when this fight is over. What will we walk away saying about conor mcgregor, the greatest of all time, what a dangerous man shouldn’t have doubted him the usual. You feel that you’ve been doubted. Of course, do you feel that’s been fair? Yes, i don’t really care about it. I’M, just it’s fuel to me, it’s fuel to me: are you gon na, be in the ufc for a long time to come or we’re gon na see you boxing as well. You know for sure, i’ll box again, like i’m back on the sights. The boxing is it’s, not even on the radar at the minute. You know what i mean, but i will do of course, do you feel obviously fighting floyd money, mayweather and making the exorbitant amount of dollars that you made and well deserved. Nobody can knock you for making that decision. Steve reflected even floyd didn’t make me anything. Oh, he was on the forbes this before floyd that’s great. Oh, i brought floyd. I already got that with it. You know explode. He had the andro andre berto fight before i’m. Not going to knock you for that, because floyd mayweather said that he said i mean it was morning.

He was more grateful to you. He told me that person – he was more than great for you, but my last question to you because he has a picture of me in the gaffe in his house. He has fallen a deal. He does. I have no problem with floyd. I was in it wasn’t a good look for him to to uh face against that man in the in his life logan paul yeah, it didn’t it didn’t. It didn’t feel right, even his eye didn’t, he didn’t even feel like he could see it in him. We can go again if he wants. You know what i mean. I feel that’s going to happen at some stage down the line last question when, by ko or just to win saturday night sk, oh out on a stretcher, this man is gone, stephen good to meet you, my man, all right.

What do you think?

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