UFC

I want my world title back – McGregor targeting UFC return in 2019

By Sports Desk August 23, 2019

Conor McGregor is targeting a UFC comeback before the end of 2019 and is not concerned by who he fights.

Former featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor has not fought since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.

In March, McGregor took to Twitter to claim he had retired from mixed martial arts, though he has subsequently changed his stance.

The 31-year-old, who has been embroiled in controversy out of the octagon in recent weeks, is now aiming to make a comeback by the close of the year.

"I want my world title back and I want that redemption," McGregor told ESPN.

"If you're asking me who, whoever, if Dustin [Poirier] goes in and does it, if Nate [Diaz], if it's Jorge [Masvidal].

"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, a [Max] Holloway rematch, Jose Aldo rematch. There's so many belts for me, so many. 

"In reality, it does not matter who. It's just about me getting back in. I would say we can get that done. 

"I'm already in shape. I have not lost my condition so I'm in shape. I just need to sharpen up the grappling and just see how the grip feels on the wrist and things like that. 

"But I can punch fully so I would say so. I would look for the end of the year."

McGregor also explained he had been due to return to UFC in July, only for a hand injury sustained in sparring to rule him out of contention.

"We scheduled a spar with another up-and-comer but the gloves are so small, the room for injury and damage is so high," he added.

"Originally I couldn't grapple until September but I saw my surgeon and he said I can grapple now so I'm going to go back into that.

"I haven't stopped kicking and I haven't stopped with my conditioning, so let's get it going now - I'm excited."

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    "This fight is my show. I'm headlining this b****, so I was going to do it my way.

    "Who else, on this kind of stage, is going to do that before they go in and whoop some ass? If I could sing, trust me - Justin Bieber wouldn't even have a job." 

    Adesanya had no doubts he would pull off the victory, but confessed the gravitas of his achievement was still sinking in.

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    In his first outing since a win against McGregor in October 2018 that was overshadowed by an ugly post-fight brawl, Nurmagomedov moved to 28-0 by submitting Poirier in the third round at UFC 242.

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    "You know what's interesting in this sport; even if you're 28-0 in MMA, 12-0 in UFC, you're one of the biggest stars, you smash everybody, people talk about how you have to fight with him, you have to fight with him, you have to fight with him. Just give me respect," he said.

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    But when the subject turned to former two-weight world champion Georges St-Pierre, widely considered the greatest MMA fighter of all time but retired since February, Nurmagomedov could not hide his interest.

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    "If the UFC have a big, big fight, they can build an arena somewhere like Congo, Nigeria, Somalia or Sudan, whatever. Fight there, make money and do some charity stuff," he said.

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    "And all the money we make we can use on charity, on Africa or somewhere. Maybe they can make $50 million, maybe 40m, even if they make 30m for one night and give all this money for people – I like this kind of stuff."

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    The champion scaled the cage after his win and got into a fight with McGregor's training partner Dillon Danis which then incited a brawl that went from the stands and into the ring.

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