Conor McGregor returns to the UFC on January 18th, and the money machine is churning with UFC 246 selling out immediately for a $10 million gate. But what’s been somewhat surprising is how little we’ve actually heard from McGregor outside of social media.
McGregor hasn’t really opened up since a 40 minute softball interview with ESPN back in September, so we’re largely stuck going off of second hand accounts of what the Irish sports star’s specific plans and motivations are for this comeback. Rumor has it we may not even get a press conference or media event until fight week!
What we know: McGregor wants three fights this year, culminating in a rematch against Khabib Nurmagomedov. McGregor wants to prove the doubters and haters wrong by ‘doing it again’, whether that means recreating his amazing 2013-2015 run that won him his first title or going balls out for double champ status once more. Whatever the specifics, McGregor’s manager Audie Attar says his client is looking 100 percent focused coming into this ‘season’ of fighting.
”I do [believe he’ll be champion again],” he told the South China Morning Post MMA podcast. “I’ve seen a level of fire that’s been reignited within him.”
”We’ve done things that nobody ever thought we could do, from the Floyd Mayweather fight to the type of contracts that he’s been able to earn,” Attar continued. “We’re very proud of that. Those don’t come easy. But those come with a lot of, I think, distractions and things that allow you to lose sight of what was really important to you. And the one thing that’s exciting for me is to see he’s refocused, and we all need that in life.”
“Life is not linear, it’s not black or white, and we’re all gonna at times need to refocus and keep track of what’s important to us – what’s our purpose professionally, what’s our purpose personally. And I think when you keep those two things aligned and moving in the right direction together, I think you’re gonna have harmony in your life, you’re going to have happiness in your life. And that’s where he is right now. He understands who he is. He understands what his purpose is professionally. He understands what his purpose is personally. And he’s focused on achieving that.”
“That’s why we’ve talked about this year being a season, not just one fight. Not just going in, one after another after another. It’s really focusing on what’s important to him, and that’s key. And I’m just so excited because I haven’t seen this in a couple of years and I’m telling people just sit back and you’ll see a performance of an old Conor, and I really believe that, because the work’s being put in there, and you can’t fake that.”
McGregor certainly has been putting the work in at the gym. His social media is awash in images and video of the “Notorious” training or chuffed and sweaty from hard rounds of work. That being said, he seemed similarly focused over the summer and still managed to embroil himself in several criminal or potentially criminal incidents.
It’s good news for McGregor’s management that he’s back to waking up early and training at the same time every day, but can he really close the world off and return to the mindset that carried him from an unemployed plumber to the biggest MMA fighter in the world?
Step one involves beating Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in Las Vegas on January 18th.