Conor McGregor was downing whiskey 'all bleeding week' before loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov

By Sports Desk January 14, 2020

Conor McGregor has admitted his preparation for fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov in his last UFC outing was far from ideal given he spent "all bleeding week" downing shots of whiskey.

The Irishman fell to a convincing submission defeat against the Russian in the fourth round of their October 2018 battle in the Octagon at UFC 229, a contest that was followed by a controversial brawl.

But ahead of his comeback against Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday, McGregor acknowledged he had enjoyed himself a little too much in the build-up to the Khabib bout, as well as taking part in a reckless sparring routine.

"I was drinking all bleeding fight week in the last one," McGregor told ESPN. 

"Yes [it was before the fight]. It [drinking in fight week] had not been [common] to that extent before. I had venom in me or something. I don't know why.

"I was almost too intense and too serious, working too hard in the gym and then not working hard enough outside of it. You've got to be focused outside. 

"You're not as sharp, not as fresh, not as eager to be there [at the gym]. That kept happening, I wouldn't want to be there, then I'd have to scrap, and then off I'd go again. 

"You learn something from everything, some of the work was great. Some parts of it were enjoyable, I do love a good scrap, I've just got to stay focused outside the gym."

Pressed further on his preparation, the 31-year-old added: "I had people holed up in a hotel and I would ring and arrange a fight, they would come to the gym and have a full-blown fight with no headguards.

"I'd have a war, win and knock the guy out and go off and celebrate and come back in three days.

"I wasn't doing what I should have been doing or living the life I should have been living; I've made mistakes and I've been man enough to admit them and correct them."

On Khabib, who has said McGregor needs a long run of wins before being worthy of a second bout, the Dubliner added: "He has fear, he doesn't want [the rematch]. It did get very personal. Some of the things were maybe too far but it's the fight business."

McGregor has also lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr in a lucrative boxing match since his last victory, which came at UFC 205 against Eddie Alvarez more than three years ago.

Punching a 50-year-old man in a pub last year led to a court appearance and a fine but McGregor says he has turned his life around.

He added: "If I'm in the wrong, I'm in the wrong. I let people down and that's it. I'm in a position where I must take control of things and not shy away.

"I've never done that in my career and I never will; the people who believe in me and support me deserve better. It's been a good couple of months, three or four months ago [since I had a drink]. 

"I might not be perfect, but with a good sleep and a full belly I'm damn close."

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  • Gaethje takes aim at McGregor as UFC star threatens to quit Gaethje takes aim at McGregor as UFC star threatens to quit

    Justin Gaethje said it is "preposterous" if Conor McGregor gets a title shot following his shock loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 as he threatened to quit the octagon.

    McGregor was sensationally knocked out in the second round by Poirier in Abu Dhabi, where the Irish star was fighting for the first time in 12 months, while it was just his third appearance in the UFC since the start of 2018.

    The former lightweight champion has already called for a third bout against Poirier, who he beat in 2014, and McGregor's coach John Kavanagh wants a rematch to be a title showdown.

    But should president Dana White and UFC give McGregor a title contest, American Gaethje (22-3) said he will definitely consider his future.

    "For them to come out and say he wants a title shot next, rematch with Poirier, they're f****** i*****," Gaethje, who has not fought since his defeat to unbeaten champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October, told ESPN.

    "He's been treated special over and over and he didn't capitalise on this opportunity. That event was for him, it was for him to win.

    "He wants to be Mr. Humble now, but you know he would have been an a****** had he won that fight. I don't feel bad for him, I'm happy for Poirier, I'm happy Poirier went out there did his job, and finished him.

    "I love seeing a loudmouth get knocked out, there is nothing that makes me happier. Seeing a piece of s*** get put down, that was great, I loved it.

    "He's not fighting for a title. I will think about never fighting in the UFC again if he fights for a title. That would be preposterous. He's sitting at number six, he's won one fight in his entire life in the lightweight division.

    "He picks and chooses who he fights. I would love to fight him but I don't think it should be next. But he ain't gonna fight me."

  • Nobody wants to see McGregor v Pacquiao - Mayweather Nobody wants to see McGregor v Pacquiao - Mayweather

    Floyd Mayweather Jr does not think anyone wants to see Conor McGregor return to boxing to face Manny Pacquiao following the Irishman's defeat to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on Sunday.

    Poirier became the first man to knockout McGregor in mixed martial arts with a string of punches to the head during the second round of their lightweight bout in Abu Dhabi.

    It was the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion's first fight in a year and his second since being submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.

    His bout with Nurmagomedov came after he switched to boxing to take on former five-division champion Mayweather, who came out of retirement and put his 49-0 record on the line.

    Mayweather triumphed over McGregor by TKO in round 10, but the Irishman has been linked with a return to the ring to face Pacquiao – an eight-division champion and the WBA welterweight title holder.

    However, it has been reported Pacquiao is closing in on an agreement with Ryan Garcia and McGregor's loss to Poirier will have done his chances of facing the Filipino no good.

    Mayweather likened the prospect of Pacquiao, who he defeated by unanimous decision in their long-awaited welterweight bout in 2015, taking on McGregor as "my leftovers eating leftovers".

    Sharing an image of a post asking why Mayweather is hated for the way he carries himself, but McGregor is loved for acting in the same manner, he wrote: "I seen this post and my take on it is that the world knows Con Artist McLoser can steal everything from me and be loved but I'm hated. That just lets you all know that racism still exist.

    "Just know, that bum will never be me or be on my level. I'm just built different, my mindset is on another planet, my skills are second to none, I'm a natural born winner and yes I talk a lot of trash, but every time I back it up! This is what they hate.

    "It's sad that you can be a poor black kid from the ghetto that has dealt with racism your whole life and work extremely hard to put yourself and your family in a better position, and most of the hate comes from my own people.

    "Conor cannot even win in his own sport, but talking about coming back to boxing to fight Pacquiao. Nobody wants to see that, it's like my leftovers eating leftovers."

    Prior to his fight with Poirier, McGregor said he was committed to a prolonged stint in the UFC's lightweight division.

    Despite his loss, the 32-year-old said he feels there are still plenty of match-ups in the Octagon that interest him.

  • Poirier declares 'I'm the champ' after TKO versus McGregor at UFC 257 Poirier declares 'I'm the champ' after TKO versus McGregor at UFC 257

    Dustin Poirier declared "I'm the champ" after defeating Conor McGregor by technical knockout at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

    A string of punches to McGregor's head in the second round made Poirier a leading contender for the UFC lightweight title, which is still held by Khabib Nurmagomedov despite the Russian having retired.

    Poirier said he would be open to a rematch with McGregor or a bout with Nate Diaz but ruled out a fight against Michael Chandler, who defeated Dan Hooker on his UFC debut in the co-main event.

    Asked if a fight with former Bellator lightweight champion Chandler interested him, Porier said: "No, it does not. Respect to Chandler, great win over a guy, but to come in and beat a guy I just beat and get a title shot?

    "Dude, I've been 27, 28 fights in the UFC, trying everything, fighting the toughest of the toughest guys to get my hands on gold. He should fight Charles Oliveira or something, let them go at it.

    "That doesn't really interest me at this point. I'll go and sell hot sauce if that's the case.

    "It's not even my position, I've just been putting in the work, that's why I can sit here and talk about it because I've been in the division and the UFC for a long time fighting the best of the best to him.

    "No disrespect to him … it's just my feelings towards the division and the sport. I feel like I lost to Khabib, I came out and put on a fight of the year for you guys, got my hand raised against a top-five opponent after that, then I come in here and Khabib doesn't want to come back, and one of the biggest fights you can get I knock this guy out too.

    "Khabib reiterates he doesn't want to fight anymore. Dude, I'm the champ.

    "Fighting a new guy to the UFC who just beat a guy whose coming off a loss that I just beat for the belt, that's not exciting to me."

    Poirier ranked the victory over McGregor as one of his best, particularly because the Irishman won their first meeting in 2014 and had never been knocked out before.

    "It's up there, especially finishing a guy who's never been finished like that, it's up there man," he said.

    "Touching that UFC interim belt was so important to me, and putting my hands on the undisputed world title before this is all said and done is what I want to absolutely do, but this is a big one."

    Poirier lost his first and only shot at the title when he was submitted at UFC 242 by Nurmagomedov, who bowed out after making Justin Gaethje tap at UFC 254 last October.

    Asked whether Gaethje or Oliveira was more deserving of a chance to fight him for the lightweight belt, he replied: "Oliveira, because he's never had the opportunity.

    "Gaethje just came out here and got beat. As I did. Not a knock on Gaethje, but he lost. Oliveira probably, or let them fight to see who gets it. There are so many tough fighters in the 155-pound division."

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