A Q and A with Conor McGregor by the Boston Herald
As you are no doubt all well aware, SBG Ireland’s Conor McGregor returns to the UFC in but a few short weeks. On January 18th, McGregor headlines the UFC Fight Night 59 event at the TD Garden in Boston, facing off against Dennis Siver – a UFC veteran with a professional record of 22-9. He is joined on the card by both Paddy Holohan and Cathal Pendred, and it promises to be another enormous night for SBG, in a town where the Irish fighters will be welcomed with open arms.
In the run up to the event, Conor McGregor has been giving an in-depth interview with the Boston Herald. In parts 1 and 2, now archived, McGregor talked about his early professional career. In part 3 here, and part 4 here, he talks about the run up to signing with the UFC, his debut, and his first appearance in Boston.
It is a fascinating story, and a sobering one that could have ended very differently for a man who is now a household name across North America and Europe. Already the holder of two MMA world titles, Conor McGregor had all but given up on his plans to keep pursuing his fighting career when news from a friend shook his outlook. Not showing up to training, or answering calls from coaches, McGregor was unsure what he would do next, until one day a particularly incessant phone call, eventually answered, offered him a shot at the big time. A few short months later, Conor McGregor was emphatically winning his first UFC fight against Marcus Brimage in the opening moments of the first round, and taking a ride down the Las Vegas Strip in UFC President Dana White’s ferrari! Two years later (one of which was spent recovering from his ACL injury) McGregor is on the brink of a potential title shot, with one of the most dominant UFC fighters in history, Jose Aldo, excited by the prospect of facing the SBG Ireland man.
It was recently announced that should Conor McGregor go on to win his upcoming fight with Denis Siver, he will, indeed, be next in line to take on the champion, Jose Aldo. In a display of his customary self-assurance, the SBG Ireland man is predicting he will soon be adding to his tally of first round knock outs.
Q: What are your memories of getting the call to go to the UFC?
A: I had heard about my teammate who had come up with me in this game. He was told he could never fight again because he had went for a brain scan and it came back, something had happened, I don’t know, he was advised he could not fight again. So just like in the blink of an eye, a teammate who I grew up with — we were both on the same path, he would have been here as well — now all of a sudden, he can not do it. So he must coach, he must do boot camp classes for the rest of his life.
So I’m thinking in my head, “Hold on a (expletive) minute.” I’m here putting everything into this (expletive), and then for some guy to just tell me no, now you can not do it, then what? So I packed it in again. I walked again, and I was gone for two weeks, two or three weeks.
I used to teach the boxing class in SBG Ireland, and I just didn’t show up. So I was off getting into trouble and just, I was done, I was 100 percent certain I was done. I had won the second belt, I was already a two-way world champion at the time, but I didn’t give a (expletive). I didn’t want to, I was gone.
Q: Because of the impact of seeing your training partner’s career come to an abrupt end?
A: Yes, 100 percent. I didn’t want — what would I do? I don’t know what the (expletive) I would do if that was happening to me, so I just didn’t give a (expletive). I’ll figure something out. I’ll go and I’ll find some way to make money, you best believe that. I’ll find some other way to make money. So that was what I was doing.
So I was sitting in a car, it was a Tuesday and I was with some friends. We were drinking, we were having fun, (expletive) around, you know what I mean? We were up to no good, and then the phone rang. And Tuesday is when I teach the boxing class. Well, I was supposed to teach the boxing class, but I hadn’t been there for like three weeks. Just hadn’t rang, hadn’t answered phones, nothing like that. My coach is in Iceland with (UFC fighter Gunnar Nelson) at the time, and I see an Icelandic number on the phone. It was ringing and ringing and ringing. I was like, (expletive) that, I’m not answering that . . . I’m going to (expletive) say something I regret, or we’ll go at it. So I just didn’t answer the phone.
And again, ringing and ringing, (expletive) that, I am not answering. It rang out, I left it, carried on, and then I’m sitting there and they say, ‘Just answer the (expletive) thing.’ I was like alright then, (expletive) it, answer the thing — How do you feel about making your UFC debut in nine weeks?
I’m sitting there, I didn’t know what way to think then. So I just put the phone down and I just realized that my destiny is different than my teammate’s destiny. I just had to accept that this is it, this is my opportunity to make some good money. And I knew right then and there that it was it, it was done, I was here. I know I only needed one chance, and when the one chance came, I took it. I knew I was going to make every cent that I could possibly make in that fight and I did.