Conor McGregor is lacking the ‘hunger’ that made him become the UFC featherweight and lightweight champion of the world.
That’s according to UFC lightweight Beneil Dariush who has questioned whether “The Notorious” still has the same burning desire for battle in the wake of his defeat to Dustin Poirier.
Poirier (27-6) stopped McGregor (22-5) at UFC 257 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi in what was the Irishman’s first UFC appearance in 12 months.
After evening the score, the two fighters have agreed to run it back in a rubber match at UFC 264 on July 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
However, Dariush (20-4), 31, harbours doubts as to whether the multimillionaire truly has the motivation to continue competing at such a high level of the fight game.
“It’s about hunger, man,” Dariush said to ESPN. “I always talk about it. For me, as an athlete, I have God-given talents.
“So I want to multiply those talents and give them back to God. And that well never runs dry. I always have something in that well.
“For him, it seemed like first, it was to make money. Well, you made that, so that well is dry.”
“This last fight, it seemed like he’s a big family man and all that. Well, you did that,” he added. “You support your family. Everybody sees it. You’re being a good dad. You’re being a good husband.
“That well kinda [sic] runs dry. I don’t know. He’s been the champion. That well ran dry. I don’t know what makes him hungry.
“When you can’t see is a man’s motivation, I think he looks a little bit hollow. And I think I’m seeing that in Conor right now. He looks a little bit hollow because he doesn’t know what he wants.”
This isn’t the first time McGregor’s desire to compete in mixed martial arts has been called into question, with UFC president Dana White himself expressing his concern after the fight, saying: “There’s two ways this goes – [he comes back] hungrier or ‘I’m done’. He’s got the money.
“I’m a huge Rocky fan and this is like Rocky III.
“When you get off a 310ft yacht and are living that good life, i’’s tough to be a savage.
“On his way up, he was a young, hungry kid, didn’t have any money and wanted nice things – suits, cars, houses – he has everything he ever wanted, so I don’t know.”
McGregor, for his part, seems to be in no rush to hang up his gloves for good anytime soon.
The 32-year-old is currently preparing for his trilogy fight with Poirier at the UFC Gym in Abu Dhabi.
“I’ll keep my eyes on the prize,” McGregor said during the UFC 257 post-fight press conference. “Don’t write me off yet, I’ll make my adjustments and keep moving.
“I’ll go back, get healthy and I’ll re-prepare. I’ve got to a great place in my body physically and I’ll continue to grow that.
“Dustin had a hell of a fight. I felt alright in the second round, felt better than him in the clinch but too little too late – my leg was compromised, and I didn’t adjust.
“Fair play to Dustin, I’m happy for him. I’m happy to compete in these challenging times. I don’t know where I am at the minute. He fought a hell of a fight but what can you do.”