Since the official announcement for Nurmagomedov-McGregor was made at the UFC 25th Anniversary Presser during the UFC 227 weekend, both men have been immediately gotten right to work in preparation for this bout.
Over the previous weeks or so, we have been hearing reports here and there on how good and motivated Conor’s been looking in training. One person who has witnessed this the most, has been none other than McGregor’s own SBG Ireland training partner and Bellator bantamweight contender James Gallagher who says the former UFC double champion looks better than ever.
“[Conor] looks better than ever,” Gallagher told MMA Fighting‘s Peter Carroll this week. “He’s got that fire back inside of him. When you’re on the top of the world like he’s been for so long, you need to chill out for a little bit to get that hunger back. It’s hard to keep that hunger when you have everything that you’ve ever wanted.
“While he’s been away, Khabib has been creating some hype and getting himself in a position to fight Conor,” Gallagher continued. “There are a lot of people who see Khabib as a serious threat, so I think that’s given Conor a push to step up and say, ‘Nah, mate, I’m the champ around here — you’re not on my level.’ I think Conor’s going to show Khabib who’s boss and put him back in his box.”
Gallagher also pointed out that thought the Irish superstar is incredibly weathly, and doesn necessarily need to compete again, yet he states McGregor is driven by the challenge of becoming the 1st man in the UFC to defeat Nurmagomedov.
“Conor could wipe his ass every morning with a €500 note and it would be just a drop in the ocean for him, so the real part of this he’s interested in is the challenge,” he explained. “You can buy all the cars and everything else, but you can’t buy a challenge like this. The thrill of competition is what is driving him.”
“Conor has beaten everyone the UFC have put in front of him. He climbed to the top of a division and he won a belt, then he won another belt…he loves a challenge. People are saying that Khabib is the guy now and I know that Conor is thinking, ‘I’m going to show all of these people again’. He’s got a fire inside of him to show everyone who is the boss.”
How do see Conor McGregor looking once he makes UFC return at UFC 229 when fights Khabib Nurmagomedov?