“The Notorious” was involved in an altercation with a man in a pub back in April, but video and news of the incident became public only a few days ago. In a long interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, McGregor admitted that he was wrong and claimed that he is ready to make amends.
“In reality, it doesn't matter what happened there,” McGregor said. “I was in the wrong. That man deserved to enjoy his time in the pub without having it to end the way it did. And although it was five months ago, I tried to make amends, and I made amends back then. But that does not even matter. I was in the wrong. I must come here before you and take accountability and take responsibility. I owe it to the people that have been supporting me. I owe it to my mother, my father, my family. I owe it to the people who trained me in martial arts.
“That's not who I am,” he added. “That's not the reason why I got into martial arts or studying combat sports. The reason I got into it was to defend against that type of scenario. I have been continually making steps to do better and be better. I’m just here to own up to that and move on and carry on and face what's coming with it.”
The altercation in the pub was just the last of a long series of public incidents in which McGregor has been involved. Back in March, he was arrested after smashing the phone of a fan who was trying to take a photo of him.
McGregor’s last Octagon appearance dates back to October 2018, when he lost to current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov via a fourth-round neck crank. The Irish fighter expressed his desire to win the world title once again, breaking down his fight with “The Eagle.”
“The camp was incorrect,” McGregor confessed. “I learned so much on that. Knowing the commitment I had in that camp and knowing the performance I put on, you know what I mean? He ran away for that first round, Ariel. He didn't throw a punch. He shot for the legs before he threw a punch. The first round I should've been talking to Herb [Dean]. He says he was talking to me in the cage; there wasn't a whisper out of him until he ended up in a dominant position. The only reason he ended up in that dominant position was because I walked around with disrespect towards him because he was just running around the cage. I switched off for that millisecond. He got that lucky shot -- even after he got that lucky shot, although it was a beautiful shot.
“Even after he got the shot, I bounced back up and engaged, and what did he do? He shot again. But whatever. There's many great things that I can take from that and, and I can -- I can come back and avenge that, but I'm not gonna wait around.”
Prior to the fight with Nurmagomedov, McGregor smashed Eddie Alvarez via TKO in the second round of their UFC 205 encounter, taking Alvarez’s UFC lightweight belt. When McGregor was asked whom would he like to face in his return fight, he said that he feels ready to fight “whoever,” confirming that he is all but retired.
“If you're asking me who, whoever, if it's -- if Dustin [Poirier] goes in and does it, Dustin. If Nate [Diaz], Nate. If Jorge [Masvidal], Jorge,” McGregor said. “I don't know. ... I don't even know Jorge that well. I've seen the last two, and I saw the Al Iaquinta bout. But I mean anyone: Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, [Max] Holloway rematch, Jose Aldo rematch.
“And in reality, it does not matter who. It's just about me getting back in, and being who I am -- not a shell of myself, not half-committed. I was almost -- if I had to say what I was, I was too committed in the gym. And not committed enough outside of it. The training sessions were too serious. And then when I left the gym, it was gone from my mind. I would go off into, into the jungle, and you cannot do that. You cannot be half in, especially in a game like this. And I paid the price for it and that's it.”