As former two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor prepares to return this weekend against Dustin Poirier at UFC 257, there are plenty of skeptics and critics surrounding his return after previously retiring for the second time in his career. Following his 40-second win over Donald Cerrone in 2020, McGregor was frustrated with how things were happening with the UFC regarding his next fight and even got into a public dispute with Dana White regarding private conversations that McGregor made public, which led to his second retirement.
While there was certainly a concern from both sides about how they could make a big-time profit with no live crowd due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all sides were able to hash things out late in 2020 and the fight against Poirier was booked. Now that he’s returned, McGregor is focused on getting back to work and at Thursday’s press pre-fight conference, sounded legitimately prepared to face the best of the best that the lightweight division has to offer.
On Thursday the former featherweight and lightweight UFC champion made an appearance on ‘Stephen A’s World’ on ESPN+ and was asked how people could be so sure that he wouldn’t walk away again, and then McGregor explained his reasoning for past retirements.
"It's all I do. … Mark my words."
McGregor guarantees a KO on Saturday.
— ESPN (@espn) January 21, 2021
“I retired out of frustration. I couldn’t get my belts and it was like ‘you know what, you’re not going to treat me with respect? I’m gone.’ Sometimes yourself out of a situation if you’re not being respected or appreciated and just distance yourself from it. It was more out of frustration. The truth is, the fight game will never get rid of me. Conor McGregor will be here until the day I go out.”
Not only did McGregor explain why he retired in the past but he also dropped a nugget about how active he would be if the UFC lined him up with the right opponents.
“If they line me up, I’ll get about seven fights in the next year-and-a-half, that’s what I want. I done seven fights in my featherweight run inside 14 months. That’s what I’m looking for. I got four fights on this contract with the UFC, I’ll do it in the first quarter of 2021, if they give me the dates.”
As far as the fight against Poirier goes on Saturday, McGregor plans to add to his number of knockout victories.
“It’s all I do is put people out and I’m going to do so on Saturday night, mark my words.”