Conor McGregor responded to recent questioning of his hunger to stay at the top of UFC this week, maintaining he still fights for love of the sport, not money.
Claims that McGregor no longer feels any passion for fighting have been fuelled by the Irishman’s lengthy spells away from the Octagon since 2016 – a defining year of victories both for McGregor in the Octagon and UFC in its popularity.
Similarly, McGregor’s frequent flirts with retirement, both in interviews and on social media, have led some to question whether each new fight he takes on is simply to add to his already sizeable pension, not because he really enjoys the fighting itself.
In addition, of the three fights McGregor has taken part in since his defeat of Eddie Alvarez in 2016, he has won just one. This too has led many to suggest his heart is no longer in the game, like it was in 2016 and before.
McGregor has not turned a blind eye to this questioning, however, and it has clearly disturbed him.
On Twitter, per a report in The Sun, McGregor yesterday claimed:
“If you gave 99% of the roster a weeks wage of my net worth you’d never see them compete again.”
This comment followed an interview from former opponent Eddie Alvarez echoing the opinions of UFC fans more generally.
Alvarez, speaking to MMA journalist James Lynch thinks McGregor’s passion has disappeared with the arrival of his riches:
"Fighting is having to deal with adversity every day, being told no.
"Having to wake up (early). Doing things that you don’t necessarily want to do, and that requires discipline and it hardens you, and you become a good fighter as a byproduct of all these things that happened throughout your life.
"And the idea of having $100 million in the bank, where everyone tells you yes, you get to make your own schedule and you get to wake up when you want, it’s the opposite of having to be a fighter, it actually softens you.
"I feel like for Conor to come back, he needs to harden himself as a man. In order to do that, he needs to get rid of all those things, maybe go away. Get out of that world and become hardened again over time."
Despite his lengthy spells in the past few years away from the Octagon, McGregor has recently been involved in high-profile bouts.
He defeated Donald Cerrone in January 2020 and lost to Dustin Poirier in January of this year.
In fact, he is currently preparing for a third fight against Poirier at some point this summer, following his loss to the American this year – the first stoppage loss McGregor has ever had – and his defeat of him in 2014 – a KO.
UFC had hoped for the trilogy match as soon as May but after this was not able to be finalised, it is more likely the fight will happen in July or August.
McGregor’s fight, determination to win, and love of MMA is in no short supply if we are to judge by his recent comments on Instagram as he wrote:
“One a piece now with a trilogy bout for all the marbles! Wow! Exciting!
“Not a trilogy I was expecting, nor the tactical affair I was anticipating, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t meant to be.
“This is exactly how this was always meant to be! Buzzing!!”
If this is anything to go by, McGregor’s passion for the sport is alive and well.
Fans should be on the edge of their seats to find out if that can be translated into aggression in The Octagon and if McGregor can bounce back against Poirier this summer.News Now - Sport News