UFC

Conor McGregor eyes billionaire status by age of 35, targets $80m Cowboy payday

By Sports Desk January 14, 2020

Conor McGregor is confident he will achieve billionaire status by the time he is 35 and wants to fight at the highest level for many more years.

The 31-year-old makes his UFC return in Las Vegas on Saturday against Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone, as he looks for a first win since his victory over Eddie Alvarez back in November 2016.

McGregor revealed he is not a reckless spender anymore and with the combination of his fight earnings, endorsements and his own ventures such as clothing and whiskey ranges, he expects his wealth to reach 10 figures.

Asked by ESPN if he would fight until he was 40, McGregor said: "Yeah! I don't know, probably. I'm going to have a solid couple of years at least though, I know that. I'll be rocking until a good 35.

"I'll be a billionaire by the time I'm 35."

McGregor expects to achieve the biggest purse of his UFC career against Cowboy, with $80million the figure he has in mind.

He believes his $5m guaranteed purse against Cowboy, which is still a record for a UFC fighter, will be comprehensively eclipsed.

"It's going to be a good pay cheque," he said. "Probably the most ever in my mixed martial arts career. I'm estimating a good $80m.

"We have Australia, Canada and England and Ireland, so it should be a good one.

"[I made] $50m [against Khabib Nurmagomedov]. They think I'm toast but I'm still the bread.

"But no amount of money will stop my hunger to compete and entertain. Long may the opponents continue to come and I'll continue to knock them down."

The Irishman vowed to never forget his roots, having come from a life on welfare to achieve astonishing financial success.

McGregor said: "Of course I make sure I stay to my roots always and keep where I come from in my way of thinking. Never forget.

"I spend a lot less. I have a lot of things. About a year ago I read LeBron James had spent $1.5million annual on his health, his nutrition, training, everything and I spend nothing.

"Only in camp [did I spend] to bring a team together. So I thought that was not the way to do this, I drop money on a bleeding car or a watch!

"So now I'm spending on my health and my fitness, and that helped me. Then you can acquire even more when you are sharp.

"I spend less on possessions now, though you've got to go through that [phase] when you get a windfall. It doesn't excite me now. I'm more interested in creating."

Asked if he reads lists of the highest-paid athletes, McGregor added: "That's my list, I'm coming for that list! It alternates by year, not sure where I was this year, but not bad, I was up there. 

"The decade one I saw Floyd Mayweather was top of the decade, so fair play to him, he's just not so good at the management of it.

"I'm still a good way away [from a billion]. I'll get there. I've got the methods. It's something that excites me, but it's not why I fight. I'm involved in so many businesses but there is no business like the fight business."

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    Jon Jones said victory felt "so sweet" after he controversially landed a unanimous points verdict over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in Houston.

    The judges scored the fight 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 in favour of Jones, but Reyes was furious and said he had been "all over" the champion over the first three rounds.

    UFC president Dana White revealed his children thought Reyes had done enough to get the decision and were plaguing him for answers over why Jones retained his light-heavyweight title.

    With his success, Jones becomes the UFC fighter with the most wins in title fights, his tally of 14 one better than Georges St-Pierre's record.

    And the 32-year-old American is now undefeated in his last 18 UFC fights, having last lost to Matt Hamill in 2009, when he was disqualified.

    However, the crowd inside the Toyota Center saw a tight contest and Jones admitted he had been through a war in the octagon.

    "He landed some hard hits. The fans like it when they see me get hit - it doesn't happen very often," Jones said.

    "But at the same time, I landed some takedowns. I got his back on more than one occasion. ... A hard-earned victory but a victory."

    He added, according to ESPN: "That's the way to make American history right there: hard-fought.

    "It wasn't the most impressive victory, but nothing, absolutely nothing that has never been done before is easy. It is never easy. I left it all out there, showed the heart of a champion in the fifth round, and it's so sweet."

    Jones, who certainly came on strong in the fourth and fifth rounds, was not in the mood for modesty after confirmation his reign as champion would continue.

    "Obviously, my body is hurting, but this victory is so sweet. This fight helps to put me as one of the greatest American athletes of all time," he said.

    Reyes, a 30-year-old from California who suffered his first loss, took a swipe at the 49-46 verdict against him, insisting that was a false reflection of the match-up.

    He said: "I do feel disrespected. I know I won that fight ... I made Jon Jones look like just a man. I brought the fight to him.

    "I had him [in rounds] one through three, man. I was all over him. It is what it is. I'll get better. I proved that I'm the real deal."

    White, watching on, hailed Jones as "the GOAT [greatest of all time], and said he admired how he was finding a way against "these young killers".

    But White spared a thought for Reyes, too.

    "My kids are terrorising me that the fix is in," he said. "[They are asking:] 'How does this happen, Dad? Reyes won the fight!'

    "None of us are judges. The judges call the fight, and that's it."

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    Jon Jones is back in the octagon this weekend and is on the cusp of history when he faces Dominick Reyes at UFC 247.

    The light-heavyweight king faces the unbeaten Reyes at Houston's Toyota Center and another victory would be his 14th title triumph, which would represent the most in UFC.

    Jones has not been in the ring since being troubled by Thiago Santos last July, but still heads into this one as the heavy favourite against the unfancied Reyes.

    Ahead of his latest title defence, we look at some of the big questions surrounding the fight.


    Can Jones be beaten?

    A quick glance at Jones' MMA record does show a solitary defeat. However, there is an asterisk next to that loss to Matt Hamill in 2009, with Jones disqualified for the use of illegal elbows after flooring his opponent. Jones has defeated some of the best in the MMA game and, though Reyes is sure to be a tricky customer, it is a tall order to see him losing this one.

    How did his last fight go?

    It was far from a vintage showing from Jones, who needed a split decision to overcome Santos – the first time in his storied career that has happened. All three judges scored it 48-47, with two in favour of the defending champion. It was one of the most sluggish performances of his career, though, and Jones will no doubt be keen to show Father Time is not catching up with him just yet.

    Is the motivation still there for Jones?

    This is perhaps Reyes' window of opportunity. Jones hinted at a lack of desire to carry on campaigning at the 205lb limit back in October when discussing his fellow light heavyweights and said on social media: "I want a fight to get excited about". Jones' desire to be considered the greatest is not in question but he has previously admitted to believing he has nothing to gain against Reyes, a feeling he also said he had for his previous two fights as well. A young, hungry Reyes will still have to produce the performance of his life, albeit there is potentially the chance to catch Jones off guard.

    What problems does Reyes pose?

    First and foremost a huge left hand, which has the knockout power to trouble any opponent. But Reyes also has more length than Santos and is an athletic fighter. He showed decent takedown defence when beating Chris Weidman, but that area will need to be flawless to defeat someone with the all-round qualities of Jones.

    What's next if Jones wins?

    This week, Jones was talking about what he needed to do to settle his claim as the G.O.A.T. The suggestion was winning belts in two weight divisions would enhance his argument, so the question of whether Jones could make the step up to heavyweight was once again a hot topic. There is little left for Jones to accomplish at light heavy and Francis Ngannou is a bout Jones has described as "inevitable". Another dance with Daniel Cormier could also be a possibility, though Jones previously said a bout against his long-time foe will not take place at heavyweight.

  • Khabib on Conor McGregor rematch rumours: $100m to beat up that idiot again? That's not rational Khabib on Conor McGregor rematch rumours: $100m to beat up that idiot again? That's not rational

    Conor McGregor's hopes of a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov may have been dashed after his rival responded to reports of a second bout by saying "giving me $100 million for me to beat up that idiot again? I don't think that’s rational".

    Khabib scored a convincing submission victory in their first showdown at UFC 229 in October 2018, a night that was marred by an ugly brawl between the two warring camps in the aftermath of their fight.

    McGregor spent 15 months out of the Octagon following the defeat before returning to earn a first-round knockout over Donald Cerrone last month and the Irishman has spoken of his desire for another shot at unbeaten lightweight king Khabib.

    This week, Khabib's manager Ali Abdelaziz told TMZ that Saudi Arabia would be willing to stump up a whopping $100m to host a Khabib fight if McGregor or Floyd Mayweather Jr were his opponent.

    However, Khabib – who is scheduled to defend his lightweight belt against Tony Ferguson on April 18 – appeared uninterested in facing off with McGregor again.

    "Why do I need that kind of money? There are so many organisations for example…there's not only football for the blind, there's Sambo and other sports," he said when speaking to reporters in his native Dagestan. 

    "Let [UFC] give it to them, if they don't know what to do with the money. But giving me $100 million for me to beat up that idiot again? I don't think that's rational.

    "What'll happen after a fight – no one knows. I don't worry about it. I'm surprised people even question me about a rematch.

    "It seems that people want to continue the festivities after the fight. Everyone saw what happened in the octagon. I controlled the fight every step of the way.

    "I did everything I wanted to do to him – he even gave up. How can we discuss a rematch? We can only talk about continuing festivities and making money."

    Khabib said his only priority for the time being is focusing on Ferguson.

    "I have a fight on April 18," he added. "A very serious fight. For the past month and a half I've been consistently training day and night. 

    "I've gotten myself in good shape, to where I'm supposed to be 70 days before a fight. I feel great."

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