Conor McGregor said he has had a flawless camp in advance of Saturday’s bout against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the main event of UFC 246, and he’s viewing this fight as the beginning of his 2020 season.
It’s a season that could involve three fights, possibly more, and possibly something in the boxing realm. McGregor talked about a possible rematch with Floyd Mayweather or a bout against Manny Pacquiao. He can’t say exactly whom he’s going to fight, just that he’s going to be active. In a wide-ranging interview, McGregor talked about being reinvigorated, his new UFC deal, his love for boxing, the impact that life coach Tony Robbins has had on his life, a lesson he learned from LeBron James, his reputation and his legal issues, among other topics.
“I’d say it’s a new Conor,” he told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani when they sat down in Las Vegas over the weekend. “I just feel reinvigorated, you know? Excited. That’s it.”
He recognized that he is not alone in this excitement. “The fans are very excited,” he said. “The people are very excited to see this bout, see me compete. I’m very excited to be back and to be gifting this to the people.”
Editor’s note: Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
HELWANI: I’ve been talking to a lot of members of your team, and I keep hearing the same thing: “We haven’t seen him this happy in so long. It’s a different Conor. He’s so engaged. He’s so motivated.” Do you agree with all these statements? If so, why is that?
McGREGOR: Yeah, I’m feeling really good. I’m enjoying my training. I listened to myself, what I needed to do in my training setup and outside of the gym, and I executed them. I followed what I said to myself that I needed to do. And it’s given me energy. It’s given me focus. And I’m happy now. I’m enjoying my training. … I feel I’m mature. I’ve come full circle. I’ve experienced everything in this business. And I have a solid team of masters, tacticians behind me that I discuss my feelings and my thoughts with them, and we brainstorm.
We spoke in August. It was a bit of a different Conor. You were contrite. You were apologetic. You’ve never been known to be an apologetic guy. I think the fans weren’t sure what to make of it. They weren’t sure if you were being sincere.
Look, I’m as real as it gets, like the slogan of the UFC. You’ll get what you see with me. If I’m in the wrong, I’m in the wrong. And I’m real. That’s who I am.
That wasn’t that long ago — five or so months — but your demeanor is different. You seem different. You seem happier. Of course, you’re about to fight. What’s the difference between this guy and that guy in August? Were you nervous about your career?
No, I just let people down, and that’s it. I’m in a position where I must take control of things and not shy away from things. And I’ve never done that in my career, and I never will do it. I’m back here now. How many months ago — five months ago, it was? Solid five months’ work. So I’m very, very happy with it.
One thing I remember you saying in that interview was that you felt like it was a knife in the heart when you started to hear the Irish fans in particular lose faith in you, lose trust in you, because they propped you up. You meant so much to them.
The support of the people means a lot to me. I do this to entertain the people. This is for my fans and my people who believe in me — and not so much anything that’s gone on, just my lack of commitment. I think that people who believe in me and support me, they deserve better. And I wish to give them that, and I will. And I am. Like you said, people can see that. And I’m putting in the work, and I’m putting in the focused work. And that’s why we’re all in good spirits.
Do you feel like they are back on your bandwagon, or do you think you have to do something on Jan. 18?
Bandwagon? Man, if there’s even a thought of that, well, then they’re not really with me anyway, right? So, look, I’ve got my team, my people. I know who’s with me, and I know who’s not. I’ll say a prayer for those who curse me and try and bring harm to me, and move on and stay focused on the positive aspects of my life. And there are many, many great things in my life. And that’s it.
And, you know, ignorance is bliss, they say. So that’s helped me a lot. I’ve got blinkers on, right? I’m just focused. Nothing can infiltrate my internal thoughts. You know, no external. It’s like a lot of the narratives, Ariel, that people say. And it’s a crazy game, right? You know, it just used to irritate me the way certain narratives are spread and the way words are twisted and these type of things. And I just, I had to just disengage from it.
When I came into the game, it would happen, and I would kind of laugh it off and play up to it and do my thing. And then it just kept on and on, and it just gets a little much, and I reacted. I reacted to disrespect. But no more. I am just focused on myself, my inner thoughts, my team’s thoughts. And that’s where we’re at.
The legendary boxer Marvelous Marvin Hagler once said that it’s hard to wake up at 5 a.m. to go run outside when you’re waking up in silk pajamas. You’ve experienced that now, right?
I’m kind of in a silk tracksuit, the Reebok/Conor McGregor line. For me, it’s not about money. I’m in a position where it’s forever money. This is not for money for me. No amount of money will stop my hunger for this and my hunger to compete and entertain and just live my life the way I want to live it and the way I enjoy to live it.
Too much money without an awareness of it in the past can be dangerous. There’s no limits. There’s no boundaries. You can do anything. You can go anywhere. I know what I want to do and what I enjoy doing. And this is what I enjoy doing. And so I’m going to keep doing it. Now I’m doing it full steam ahead, and I’m in the best shape of my life — mental and physical.
Where do you find that motivation? You have forever money. Why do you keep doing this?
Because I love it. It’s for the love. I absolutely love the game. I love this business. It’s a wild game. I’m involved in so many businesses, right? Thriving businesses. Well, there’s no business like the fight business.
I know you were in court in November. You paid the fine and pleaded guilty for the incident with the bar. We spoke about what happened in Miami. Is there anything else that’s pending in your life now, or do we have a clean slate in 2020?
I remember you telling me not that long ago that you felt like your character was being assassinated in the media. Do you feel like that is still the case?
Yeah, like I said, blinkers. I will say a prayer for that. It is what it is. It’s part of life, right? It’s just like I said: It was on top of me, and then I reacted. But no more. I had to go to that point.
How do you do that? How do you say, “I always wanted to react, and then I’m done with it”?
Look at where it led me, reacting to disrespect and these types of things. And I just learned some valuable lessons in this that I’m very, very thankful for. And I will use them going forward.
How would you describe 2019 for you?
A learning year, a year of figuring out myself and my situation. 2020, the year of perfect vision.
Now you have two children — a son and a daughter — which is always a great influence on a young man. How has that changed you?
My daughter, Croia McGregor, my heart is full with my kids. They are here with me now in Las Vegas. We have a Vegas residence, and it’s great to be back in the Vegas home with the family. Dee’s [McGregor’s partner] here, my sisters are here helping out. I am absolutely amazed, and I’m very, very blessed. What a time for it to happen for me, right on the money for me. I needed my kids to help me. And they have helped me. And I’m very, very happy and very, very proud.
I remember there was a time when you were talking, leading up to the [Jose] Aldo fight: “Oh, he has a family. He’s not 100% focused.” Look at you now. I see you walking around with the kids, the stroller. Did it turn out better than you thought?
Yeah, of course. I’m very, very grateful. I’m very, very blessed that I can bring my family with me. Jose was on his own over here when we were doing the tour all over the United States of America. All over the world we done that tour, actually — London, Ireland, Brazil and everywhere. But he hadn’t got his family with [him]. I’m very grateful that I can bring the family with me and the kids and have a life. Life is crazy, right? Life is beautiful.
Would you want to bring your kids to the fight?
My daughter’s a little young. My family’s coming out like they always come out. I think maybe my mother might stay in the house. I’ll see how it is. I’m at work. You know, this is work, at the end of the day. It’s a wild game. So I might bring Junior. He’s been at some intense sparring sessions. He loves to fight. He loves fighting himself. But I’ll figure it out. I won’t bring my daughter. No, I’ll leave my daughter with my mother, and I’ll figure out maybe Junior.
Does he understand who you are and what you do, or not quite yet?
He certainly understands fighting, and I don’t know whether he understands who we are. I always say “the champ-champ Junior.” I look forward to the day when I show him tapes and show him footage. He doesn’t quite understand yet, though he’s a very intelligent young boy for, like, 2-and-a-half years of age. Very, very proud of my family.
In a weird way, is it almost possible to say that they helped save your career?
That’s what I’m saying. 100% right. At the time that I needed it the most.
In August, we covered a lot of the stuff that happened over the past year. But serious things have been alleged and written about you. Is there anything you want to say about these allegations?
Look, just — no, I can’t say anything about this. It just has to take place, right?
Does it bother you that people call you —
Would it bother you?
They do, but … [motions as if to put blinders on]
Why not respond to them?
Time. Patience. Patience is a skill we must master. Patience is one of the most valuable skills a human being must master. And I’m working hard to master it, and I feel I’m getting there. So time, time will show. That’s it. Right now, I’m focused on the bout. Focused on positivity, good thoughts. And I’ll say a prayer for those who try to cross me or try to bring harm to me with these types of things, and that’s it.
As a family man, as a father, I mean, even things like, you know, there was a story that came out that someone said that you were the father of their child. Then it comes out that you’re not the father. That sticks to you, right? That has to hurt.
Two and a half years that situation was going on for. That was a tough one for a while. But it is what it is. It’s just, there you go: It’s not mine.
Last question on this. Can you say, as your manager has said and your legal team has said, that you deny any of these allegations that have been placed on you?
Yes, of course.
One hundred percent?
Yes. F—ing hell, Ariel, come on, seriously? Time, please, that’s all. Time will reveal all, time will tell all, and then that’s it.
How did we end up with Donald Cerrone as your opponent? You seem to have many options. Why him?
Well, I said I’d fight him. I mean, me and Donald had a history. And it’s an exciting bout. It’s a fan-friendly bout. It’s a fight that excites me. And it’s a fight that I said I’d partake. And I appreciate it. I appreciate Donald. He’s fought a lot of times. He’s also a family man, with his grandmother and these things. I appreciate that. And I respect that.
I also respect the method he went about [getting the fight], with the Proper whiskey and you know. So much work goes into these things, and to have a bit of respect, I appreciate that. And I look forward to having a good bout.
It’s going to be a good night. I’m going to shine here on Jan. 18. I’m going to create magic inside the Octagon, like I have done many times before. But this is gonna be something special.
The opponent and the weight were your decision ultimately, right? You could have made this at 155 pounds?
I’m under weight right now.
How much do you weigh on this Friday [a week] before the fight?
I’m under weight. I’d say 160, 160 and a bit.
So why not make him —
I know, I could have. I just don’t think he looks well at 155. He does not look well. He’s a 170 fighter.
Don’t you want him to suffer on the way to this?
Why would I want for someone to suffer? I don’t care. No, I could beat him at any weight. I could beat him if I had the flu. So, like, I don’t care. I don’t need that. I just want to focus on my training and keep me sharp. I don’t have to cut [weight] and then build. I’m happy where I’m at.
Also, 170 is an exciting [division] for me. I like 170. I like what’s going on in the 170 division at the minute. You got Jorge [Masvidal] with that belt. You got the other guys [Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington] fighting for the belt. I like all that’s going on at 170, and I feel good at 170. I feel energetic. It’s what I weigh, and that’s it. So it opens up so many more options, right?
Are you finished at 155?
No, I’m not done at 155, no way. I could make 155 for this fight, no problem. I just want to go in fresh. Let the fight play as it is and then open up all my options.
I know you’re very in tune with what the fans say, and when this fight was first announced, it was like, “He’s ducking [Justin] Gaethje. That’s the fight to make it.” “Gaethje just beat Donald. How can you fight Donald?” What’s your response to the people who say you are ducking Gaethje and taking the easier fight?
Well, first of all, I put it into the UFC’s hands. They wanted to make the bout. I wanted to make the bout. Justin’s a little too heavy, the way he was going on at certain things. A lot of people are saying certain things, are following these narratives, these vicious narratives that are going around about me. And I’m like, I’m putting that off on the back burner for a minute. But I’ll get to him. He’s been knocked out by [Dustin] Poirier. He was knocked out by [Eddie] Alvarez. I’ll get to him. That’s a handy one. That is a true handy fight for me. So whatever.
He has made it very personal with you, right?
He’s not gonna be able to make it personal with me, certainly not now. I’ve gone to the brink of personal f—ing attacks, and I am bulletproof. You’re not gonna do that. I’ll fight him at some stage.
Possibly this year. I’m going to be active. This is a spark to me. I’m gonna go in here and do what I please in here and put on a show for the fans and get a beautiful win. Look at me: three weight divisions. I mean, I want to own this. So I’m very, very excited and very happy. And long may the opponents continue to come, and I’ll continue to knock them down.
So this season, as you’ve said, you’re hoping for three fights, right?
Can you lay it out perfectly for us? That’s what everyone wants to know. We’re all speculating.
It’s hard to do that. Just know that there’s activity. If I go in here and put Donald away in a couple of seconds, which very well could happen, I could probably do the next event. That’s the type of mindset I’m at. I have an after-party set. I’m going to go out and have a few sips of my Proper whiskey — I’ve abstained from that. I made a promise to myself, I made a promise to my team, I made a promise to my fans that I would stay 100% fully focused. I’ve abstained from that, and I miss it. I do love my liquid. I’ll have a few little sips at my after-party, I’ll take the following day to rest, and then the day after that I will engage in a red zone McGregor fast training session, like I done post [Nate] Diaz 2.
We haven’t seen you active like this in a very long time. If I asked you, do you have the opponents in mind?
It does not matter. There’s so many of them. Justin’s there. Jorge’s there. Kamaru’s there.
Would it be fair to say you want to end [the year] with Khabib [Nurmagomedov] in Moscow?
I’d love that one. That’s got to happen. I went out to Moscow. It was amazing. Moscow is a great place. Russia’s a great place. I’ve got to say, I’m very impressed with them.
You didn’t feel unsafe at any point?
No, there are good people out there.
I saw one guy throw something at you.
You saw the reflex. I could have caught it as well. I love it. I love the game, you know? And I look forward to that competition, fully focused. You can see it. You can see the shape of me. Everyone knows. And no matter what, that man [Nurmagomedov] can run, but he cannot hide from it.
In the buildup to that fight, a lot was said. It’s very personal between you two.
It wasn’t just said. It was actions that led to what was said. You know, it was actions that led to those words.
Just things throughout the course of the buildup, like with the Artem [Lobov] situation, you know, and things that maybe slipped under the radar, like it was me that kind of began all this. And whatever, it did get very, very personal. But I’m taking a back-step from that, and I’m focusing on the skills. It’s a very skillful bout. And he poses a specific style set, and I pose a specific style set. And it’s an interesting clash, with two fully focused fighters. And that’s what will happen in the next bout. And I look forward to it and settling it.
But I’m just curious — because it got so personal, things said about his family, and he was talking about things that were being alleged about you — do you regret any of that? Do you wish in hindsight it didn’t get that personal, about his family, the religion, the dad, all that?
Some of the things, maybe, maybe too far. But, hey, it is what it is. And it’s the fight business. At the end of the day, it went the way it went, and that’s it.
But you think that fight will happen again. When you hear him say about you, “He has to win 10 fights,” what’s your reaction to that?
Fear. Fear. Doesn’t want it, you know. So it is what it is.
You mentioned something that I want to ask you about because I think a lot of people would be surprised. You said no liquor in this camp. When was the last time you had a drink?
Couple of months ago. Three, four months ago, maybe, yeah?
Is that a first for you or, at least, a first in a while?
I was drinking all bleeding fight week the last time. I was on the Conan O’Brien show … [motions to his mouth, simulating taking a drink.]
Prior to the Khabib fight, you were drinking in the buildup?
Was that common for you in your career?
Not really. Not to that extent, no. Not to that extent.
Why’d you do that?
Don’t know. I just had this venom in me or something. I don’t know why. I had people holed up in a hotel, from that part of the world [Russia], and I would ring and arrange a fight. So they come from the hotel down to the gym and have a full-blown fight, no head guard. I’d win. You know, we’d have a war, and I’d win, and I’d knock the guy out. And then I’d go off and celebrate, and then I’d come back in three days.
Three days? What were you doing?
You know, just … dunno. Not doing what I should have been doing.
Just, I don’t know, just not living the life that I should be living, and that’s it. I’m not going back there. I mean, I’m in a great spot now, and that’s it. And I’ve put … I’ve made mistakes. And, you know, I’ve been man enough to admit them and correct them. And that’s what I’ve done.
I mean, I might not be perfect, Ariel, right? But with a good sleep and a full belly, I’m damn close.
What time are you going to sleep these days?
Well, right now we’re getting onto the clock of fight time, right? I’d say I’ll be walking into the Octagon 10 p.m. Las Vegas time. But back home in Ireland, I was sleeping early. I was waking up early. We had a set time. I think was it was 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. were my training session slots. And so that was it. I stayed structured, sure of that. Now that we’re here, we’re in the gym at the time of the fight. And carrying on, I feel I’ve gotten accustomed to the time already, to the time zone. So perfect, absolutely flawless camp.
I’ve heard you call that previous camp a disaster, right?
No, it’s not a disaster. You learn something from everything. I learned a lot about myself. And don’t get me wrong: The work was great. It’s not like I was coming in the gym being lazy and half-assed. Like I said, I was almost too intense and too serious, working too hard in the gym and then not working hard enough outside because that’s a big part of it as well.
You know what I mean? You’ve got to be focused outside because then the next day rolls around, and if you aren’t as focused as when you left the gym and then it’s time to go back, you’re not as sharp, you’re not as fresh, you’re not as eager to be there. And that’s what kept happening to me. And I just eventually didn’t want to be there, and then I’d be there, and I’d have this scrap, and then off I’d go again.
And it is what it is. Everything is a lesson. And some parts of it [are] enjoyable, though, you know? I do love a good scrap. Just got to stay focused inside the gym.
How are things with your head coach, John Kavanagh?
Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Very, very in contact. We discuss a lot: training methods, practices, everything. Communication has been excellent this camp. And I made sure of that because it wasn’t the last camp. Not even with John, with everyone involved, you know. So I’ve been a lot more in communication with my team and relaying how I feel. And you know, we’re some unit together. We are truly some unit. I brought back my boxing coaches as well, went back to my old boxing gym, all of them at Crumlin Boxing Club. It’s where I learned how to punch. That’s been good for the soul.
I said in my head, after I went back there — because I did a boxing bout in their Good Friday show, and I had (boxing coach Phil Sutcliffe) in the corner and that — and I was like, “Damn, I should have had the guys in there for the Mayweather buildup as part of the team.” But look, the boxing avenue is still there also. It’s good to have the guys back, and there’s a great energy in the camp. The work’s been phenomenal, everyone’s in sync, and that’s it. I have a true team of tacticians behind me, and I’m excited to go in and represent our work.
Did you sign a new deal?
Signed a new deal, yes.
How many fights? One fight and then you renegotiate?
I believe that’s what will happen after this one, I think.
There’s no point in doing the eight-fight deals if you’re going to renegotiate every time.
Yeah, I’m happy with it. We’ve got a good deal. Very happy. Very excited to see how it unfolds, right? Like I said, this is a new setup with it, but I’m confident it’s gonna be a good and nice paycheck.
Probably in my mixed martial arts career, yeah.
Can you give us a range? We knew how much you made for Mayweather.
Yeah. I’d say about, it could be, I’m estimating a good $80 million.
Wow. What did you make for Khabib?
Fifty [million], $50 [million] and a bit.
Wow, $80 million. Most MMA fighters combined haven’t made that.
They think I’m toast, Ariel, but I’m still the bread.
Were you annoyed at the BMF title stuff?
No, I thought it was great. Straightaway I was like, show me that belt. I want this. I saw the belt before. Dana [White] sent it over. And then I was messing, saying I designed it, because I’d seen the drawing of it, the outline of it. But I didn’t see the color of it. I was estimating [it] was gonna be to the BMF with the gold, and then when I saw the silver and the black, I thought it was all right. I’ll scoop it up, though, I’ll add it to the thing.
Do you really think the Khabib-Tony [Ferguson] fight won’t happen?
Just maybe, you know? Possibly. [Fight] hasn’t happened, supposed to happen four times. I mean, they’re known for pulling out, right?
Did you see Usman’s reply to your comments? Essentially, you know, “if you want to have your career ended, come fight me,” and all this stuff.
How? By holding my f—ing leg? Come on, man. This is not how to fight. I’ll show you how to fight. The people know what’s a scrap and what’s not a scrap. And that method of fighting is not. Although the last one [Usman vs. Colby Covington] was a good fight, they both stood, and they had their moments. But you know what way you’re trying to fight me.
Recently, did you have someone come visit the gaff, as you would call it, the apartment, as a bit of motivation?
Tony Robbins has been a good man.
When I was in Miami, Tony Robbins asked me to come to his house and speak to his people, like his platinum people of the platinum lines, they’re called. Tony’s a great man. I went into the room, music started playing, and I was just real energetic, and I got a great buzz with it. Had a great conversation. I believe it’s online. It went everywhere, and I’ve just kept in contact with Tony. He’s very, very helpful.
He’s a top man, Tony. It’s not just words, you know. I mean, there’s action in there and a structure in what he’s saying. He came to the house and went over some things. And again, I had my coaches there, a couple of them — John and my conditioning coaches — and I was speaking to Tony, and we were closing the eyes. It was a good thing.
I wanted John there and the doc and my coaches so they could understand where my thinking was and know, so we could be a bit more in sync. I was very happy with it. I felt really uplifted coming out of it and took some things. I am very thankful for that. And I’m gonna continue that. I think he’s going to come out to me on the day before the fight maybe also.
So it’s almost like a motivational —
It’s actually not even a motivational thing. Well, it is that as well, but I’m not sure what the title would be. But he’s probably shaping up to be a life coach of mine, so I’m very happy with that as well.
He doesn’t live here, right?
He came in just for that, and that showed me a lot as well early, [when he] came to my house.
Is there a lesson or two that he taught you?
Yeah, a couple of things. We went over some things, and I’ll just keep it at that.
Do you ever go back and look at your early fights, even pre-UFC, or early interviews?
That’s one thing that I’ve done. I went back and listened to my old self. What way I was thinking when I was, you know, everything was innocent. Everything was not what it is now. That helped me a lot. I was able to go back and see what my way of thinking was then, to [compare] it [to] the way it is now and add what is useful, discard what is not. You know, Bruce Lee quote. That’s what I’ve done.
It gives you motivation? Do you remember what that was like — being on welfare? I was actually watching the “Notorious” documentary last night. You and Dee, your lifelong partner, are in a tiny, tiny room in your parents’ upstairs, and you’re both eating up there. It’s amazing to see that and not to see, you know, what you’ve become.
Yeah, of course. I stay close to my roots, always. I stay close to how I came up, always, in my way of thinking. Of course. God, you’ve got to.
There is a part of you that could forget, when you have all this money you don’t know what to do with it. You’re buying things whenever you want, fancy clothes, all that stuff. There’s a part of you that could forget that. That’s understandable. But you haven’t.
No, no, I make sure I stay close to my roots, stay close to who I am and who I was. And that’s it. You still never forget.
Spending a lot — do you still do that?
A lot less, though.
Why is that?
I don’t know. I have a lot of things. I actually said this to Tony Robbins because I read something about LeBron James a while back, about maybe a year ago, that he spent $1.5 million annually on his health: his nutrition, his training, his everything. And I spent nothing. Only in camp [do] I bring a team together of people. And I was like, that’s not the way to do this. I dropped money on a bleeding car or a watch. [Now] I spend on myself, on my health and my fitness. And that’s helped me. And then you acquire more, and you’re sharp, and that’s what I am now.
Spending less on possessions and things.
Less on possessions. You’ve got to go through that. You always go through that when you get a windfall. You start getting things. You just get a little bit … it doesn’t excite me as much as it would have, you know what I mean? What excites me now is creating. I like to create the things that I love, like the clothing and that. I’m very much involved in the designs and building things with Reebok and with my company, August McGregor, and of course the whiskey and these ventures. And that’s what I enjoy doing.
You’re 31 now. Do you think you’ll still be fighting at 40?
Yeah [laughs]. I don’t know, probably. But I’m gonna have a solid couple of years, though. I know I’ll be rocking until I’m 35. I’m gonna hit the billy ($1 billion level) by the time I’m 35 years of age — I’ll be a billionaire by the time I’m 35.
That’s three and a half years.
Do you look at those lists and compare yourself [to] the highest-earning athletes?
That’s my list, and I’m coming for that list.
Where are you on that list now?
It alternates by year. I’m not sure where I was this year. Not bad. Jeez, I forget now, to be honest, but I was up there. I was up there. I saw the decade one. Floyd was top of the decade. It’s fair play to him. He’s just not so good at the management of it, right?
How close are you to the “billy”?
I’m still a good way away, but I mean, I’ll get there. I’ve got the methods, and it’s something that excites me.
You have to keep fighting to get that, right?
No, no, I’m not fighting for all that. Fighting definitely helps everything. Fighting’s up there. I’m not even scratching the surface on what I really probably should be paid. I mean, like, the back-end money is where it’s at, and it should be guaranteed. But I mean, whatever, it is what it is.
Before you’re finished, do you want to have another boxing match?
Most certainly. I’d like to rematch Floyd. I think we should rematch Floyd. I mean, he’s flirting with it, and they want all this. And he can go and pick someone else. It’s not gonna be the same. It’s not. I’ve done phenomenal in that bout. And the only reason I lost that bout was ’cause I prepared for a back-footed, Philly Shell style of opponent. When the fight was like that, I was picking him apart. Then he came forward and started pressing, and I wasn’t sinking into my shots like I am now, [with] what my boxing coaches are drilling, specific boxing things they’re drilling into me again.
I know I beat Floyd, I’d beat Floyd if we rematched, when we rematch. He’s not gonna do a mixed martial arts bout like he said. It was supposed to be me boxing, and then we’ll do a mixed martial arts bout. That was what was said. And it came out of his mouth as well, and it was not written, but it was a verbal agreement. And obviously, that’s not gonna happen. I’m not going to push him on that, either. But I would like to box him. I think that would be a good rematch.
Have you broached the subject yet?
We’ve definitely been talking.
You’ve talked to him?
Not to him.
To his people.
Yeah. Just all this stuff because he’s coming back and all this.
He sat with Dana White at a basketball game. They had a handshake deal.
It was a good noisemaker for him.
Could this happen this year? Is this something —
You never know. They’re good people to do business with, the Showtime people and Floyd. You never know.
But it’s not something you’re actively pursuing, just something you want.
Activity is what I’m pursuing. I’m just keeping myself in shape, fresh, focused, and everything will happen through that, off of that. Even the [first] Mayweather fight, I had 10 weeks to prepare for that. And before that, I wasn’t in the best [shape]. I was out messing around. It was a good, solid 10 weeks. Now I’m fully focused. We’ll see what happens.
Do you look at that fight and say, “Man, I could have been the one had I not been doing that, had I not been partying. I could have been the one to beat him”? I squandered —
I don’t squander. It was a great conversation. You have a good inner conversation you have with a man when you have a fight with him. It was great to fight Floyd, great to be in there with him. He’s a crafty veteran. He’s truly crafty. You don’t get 50 pro wins and an extensive amateur career [otherwise]. It was a great, great experience, and, you know, I look forward to doing it again. If not … it will happen. It’s going to happen again.
But also, I would be open to other boxing bouts. You know, Manny [Pacquiao]. We’re actually close to signing Manny. There’s been talks about the Manny fight as well.
You vs. Manny?
There was an offer made on that, yeah.
Just not yet. Not yet.
But it’s a possibility?
Very much so. And then the Paulie [Malignaggi] fight. I’d like to box Paulie. I want to box again. I will box again. I will get a boxing world title.
You’re probably going to have to box multiple times to get that.
No, no. But I will box multiple times. I love boxing. I truly love boxing, and I’m damn good.
When you say you’ve almost signed Manny, what does that mean?
There’s just negotiations going on.
I’d be remiss if I don’t ask for a prediction because that’s what you were known for all those years. How do you beat Donald Cerrone?
I stop him when I knock him out.
You’ve never been a “possibly, yes” kind of guy.
I’m gonna beat him. I’m ready for it all. So we’ll see what happens. John estimates [the finish will come] a little bit later. I think it could be very early. He’s getting knocked out.
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