Conor McGregor is eager to remind the fight game of his world-class skillset and he’s hoping to do it against current UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira this summer.
McGregor, who has been sidelined since July 2021 after suffering a brutal leg injury in his trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264, is currently on a long road to recovery. The injury was quite serious so it’s taken “Notorious” a little longer than he would have liked to get back into competition.
“Day-by-day, I feel better,” McGregor told Severe MMA while in attendance at Bellator 275 (results HERE). “They’re telling me to take it easy, but I feel I can go. I feel like I need to pull the reins back on my own self, so that’s kind of what I’m doing. … I’m happy with it. I’m almost back and that’s it.”
If all goes as planned McGregor will begin sparring this April. The former UFC double champ has been doing whatever he can to stay in shape and prepare for his return, but he has to medically wait just a little longer. Assuming there are no setbacks McGregor is still adamant that he should return to a title shot against Oliveira.
While Oliveira is currently scheduled to defend his lightweight title against top contender Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 this coming May McGregor believes “Do Bronx” should wait a little longer to score his big payday.
“Maybe if your man (Oliveira) is wise, he might give it another month or two,” McGregor said. “July seems OK to me. I can’t say, too early. But July, if I’m sparring April, May, June, July, I could slap the head off most of these guys at the end of April, do you know what I’m saying? A spar could be a fight.”
McGregor, 33, still believes he’s one of the very best fighters in the world. Many fight fans have wondered if the Irishman’s best days are behind him given his recent injury, overall inactivity over the past few years, and his 1-3 record over his last four Octagon appearances. McGregor may not have the same fire he once did before becoming the first double champion in UFC history and earning millions of dollars, but he’s still a skilled fighter and hopes to prove that in his return later this year.
“It’s about time this game starts giving me respect for my different styles of fighting – my ground, my shots downward, my shots upward,” McGregor said. “No matter what’s going on with the leg, I scoot into open guard. … I’d scoot into open guard. I’d play open guard attacks. People are going to give me my respect for all of the facets of my game. Even the downward shots, from bottom, the elbows, the kicks. Even since that fight, you see people trying to implement them and make them. It’s not the same. There are levels to this game. The game is going to understand and give me my respect for my multiple facets for my game.”
It’s hard to know exactly where McGregor slots into the lightweight division at this exact time. Coming off the injury that he did it’s almost impossible to predict his effectiveness inside of the cage until we actually see him compete. That said, “Notorious” is eager to do the right things for his comeback fight and give his supporters a chance to cheer on a dedicated, disciplined, and determined former UFC champion.
“I’m the double-champ. I went to a different sport. I came back. I know that. I don’t got to prove that,” McGregor said. “It’s just about getting back in and competing and getting myself into pristine condition and getting in and enjoying myself, putting on a show for the fans. That’s it. Once I get the leg cleared and I get that feeling when I kick a body, when I step back in and out and get that feel of it, then I’ll be able to gauge time.
“I’m going to isolate myself. I’m going to stay away from the pub. I’m going to stay away from my delicious Forge Irish Stout, from my tasty, smooth Proper (No. Twelve) Irish Whiskey. I’m going to dedicate myself to my craft 100 percent. Give it a month or two of that and see how everything goes and make the move. There’s no worry, no rush. I know a lot of people are supporting me. I want to do them well. I want to do my support well. That’s what we’re going to do.”
What say you, fight fans? Does McGregor deserve more respect than he gets? Should he get a title shot upon his return?
Let’s hear it in the comments below!