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."

Related items

  • Conor McGregor won't fight again in 2020, insists UFC president White Conor McGregor won't fight again in 2020, insists UFC president White

    UFC president Dana White said Conor McGregor will not fight again this year, while adding no bout is planned for the Irish star in 2021.

    McGregor announced his decision to retire in June, having returned to the Octagon in January after a 15-month absence and knocked out Donald Cerrone at welterweight in just 40 seconds.

    Former featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor had been planning to fight three times in 2020, however, the coronavirus pandemic scuppered that strategy.

    And White insisted there are no plans for McGregor to return to UFC in 2020.

    "This year, he is retired," White told Barstool Sports on Monday.

    "He doesn't have a fight this year, and he won't have a fight this year. Conor McGregor will not fight in 2020.

    "I'm not saying he won't fight in 2021, but I'm telling you we don't have a fight planned for him in 2021. But I guarantee you he will not fight in 2020. Conor McGregor is retired."

    White added: "Do we all believe he'll stay retired? I think most of us don't believe that he'll remain retired, but let me put it to you this way: I owe fighters that are under contract with me three fights a year.

    "OK? If I don't deliver those three fights a year, I have to pay them. Conor McGregor is retired, whether people want to believe it or not.

    "He is not fighting right now, so when he's not fighting, I don't even think about him or what he's doing or any of that stuff on a business level. I'll still shoot him a text personally, but on a business level, he's out of the mix. He's not fighting at all. So everybody keeps asking questions about him, and I'm like, 'Manny Pacquiao? What the f*** are you talking about?"

  • Karim Benzema from strike ace to...strike ace? Real Madrid star fancies a crack at MMA Karim Benzema from strike ace to...strike ace? Real Madrid star fancies a crack at MMA

    Real Madrid star Karim Benzema had a simple answer when asked if he fancies a crack at mixed martial arts after his football career comes to an end: "No problem for me, I'm up for it!"

    Benzema, 32, enjoyed a brilliant campaign for Madrid, scoring 21 goals and providing eight assists as Los Blancos beat Barcelona to the LaLiga title.

    Such form suggests Benzema still has plenty of legs left in football yet, even though he may be approaching the twilight years of his career.

    But there are other challenges that appeal to the French striker, including it seems having a go at the fight game.

    Benzema took questions from several friends for a YouTube video, one of which came from French kickboxer Fouad Ezbiri, who he has trained with in the past.

    Ezbiri asked if Benzema - a fan of fight sports - ever had plans to step in the ring at least once.

    "Well Fouad my broski, in any case I hope you're doing good, and it's true that I love fighting sports," Benzema said. 

    "I love training, as you say we already trained, after the soccer why not train with you for six months and if you think I can be ready for a fight, no problem for me, I'm up for it!"

    Benzema also responded to a separate question about how much longer he feels he has left in football.

    "I'm working a lot. I pay attention to everything I do, I take care of myself and I'm trying to get the best out of me as possible," Benzema added. 

    "I know this is not the beginning of my career but in any case, for me, age does not mean anything and yeah we're going to do everything."

    Benzema also revealed three major sporting influences of his, saying: "It depends there are many people who have inspired me but we'll take soccer for example. It's Ronaldo, the Brazilian, so he's the one who made me love football, simply. It's thanks to what he did but everyone knows it. 

    "Then athletic, although I'm not a big fan of basketball, but I would say Michael Jordan for what he did, what he has been with the Chicago Bulls. And then another athlete I would say Mike Tyson, there you go Mike Tyson, because it's the power."

    Real Madrid team-mate James Rodriguez pondered whether Benzema prefers scoring or assisting a team-mate.

    "I'll answer you sincerely. Making assists or scoring goals are two different things but not that different and I like to do both," he said. 

    "To choose, I choose to score. On the other hand if my partner is good and sure to score I'll pass him the ball and offer him the goal. So, I choose both my brother."

  • Dana White vents as Brunson springs UFC shock and eyes Cannonier-Whittaker winner Dana White vents as Brunson springs UFC shock and eyes Cannonier-Whittaker winner

    Derek Brunson could be heading towards a shot at the UFC middleweight belt after brutally handing Edmen Shahbazyan a first defeat in the Octagon.

    The experienced Brunson was a big underdog for the main event showdown at UFC Vegas 5, yet he dominated against the 22-year-old rising star who entered the bout on an 11-fight winning streak.

    Now Brunson, 36, wants a look at the winner of the big clash between Jared Cannonier and Robert Whittaker, which will reportedly go ahead at UFC 254 in October.

    His swamping of Shahbazyan also drew the attention of divisional champion Israel Adesanya, who tweeted: "Nice one Brunson. Really showed your level of experience in this fight."

    Brunson looked to have the fight won after two rounds but referee Herb Dean and the fight doctor let it run on, after a lengthy delay that irked UFC boss Dana White, with the stoppage coming just 26 seconds into the third.

    “Shahbazyan looked like he was out at the end of that [second] round," White said. “I think the doctor could have stopped… I don’t know anything about the doctor, but I haven’t seen him before.

    “You've got Brunson who ends that round strong. Many could argue that fight could have been stopped right there at the end of that round.

    “What you don't do is talk to the guy for 10 minutes while he’s hurt. You either stop the fight or let him continue. But you're letting the kid recover while you've got Brunson, who's just done that work and is waiting for the bell to ring so he can go in and finish the fight. Pull the trigger one way or another. Stop the fight or don't."

    A satisfied Brunson said in a post-fight news conference: "I'd had enough of coming out, putting up bad fights, just stinkers, so I was really locked in for this fight and making sure I was out there executing it.

    "There's a lot of good fights to make - Cannonier-Whittaker, that's a good fight, I'll try to come up on the winner of that fight. You've got Darren Till and I know he's just lost [to Whittaker] but he has a huge name. You've got the BMF bill. I want big fights."

    Brunson aimed a dig at his doubters, saying: "All the people on social media... and so many people betting against me, having so much negative to say, but I had so much support and that meant way more than any negative.

    "I had to get off social media all week. Everybody was just saying, 'You're going to get beat up real bad'. I looked really good tonight; I got the finish.

    "I'm just believing and trusting what I've been doing lately and that's what made the difference."

    He cited previous fights where illness and misfortune disrupted his preparations, recalling how a hurricane in North Carolina meant he was barely able to train on one occasion.

    Now Brunson is getting back to being able to shape the course of his career, and he added: "I'm not given enough respect in this division. I'm okay with earning it."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.