During that near two year hiatus from MMA action, a reflecting McGregor admits that he fell out of love with the MMA game.
“I don’t owe nobody an answer for nothing,” McGregor told The Mac Life. “I’m here for the love of this game, love for competition. I fell out of love with the game for a bit. I went off and did my own thing, had many things going on, now I’m back. I’m hungry to compete and we’re here, right on the cusp of it, making weight and handling media obligations, and that’s it. The fans have just missed me compete, like I have missed me compete also. We all get what we want on October 6th: McGregor back inside the famous UFC Octagon.”
McGregor was last seen in the Octagon at UFC 205, where he defeated Eddie Alvarez to win the UFC Lightweight Title.
A huge factor that caused McGregor’s love of MMA to diminish was being stripped of the UFC Featherweight Title and the UFC Lightweight Title.
“I spent my entire life’s work to win those two UFC world titles. I set out a goal, I put absolutely everything [into it], I sacrificed so much to gain those world titles. And then, as soon as I won the second world title, I hadn’t been offered a featherweight contest, and the featherweight title was taken off me and was handed back to a man I had crazy history with [Jose Aldo],” he stated. “I traveled the world with him, it was a two-year build up and he ended up pulling out at the last minute. When I ended up fighting him, I knocked him out in 13 seconds and then they gave him the belt back as soon as I walked outside the Octagon in Madison Square Garden. And then what? About a month or two [later], the lightweight belt is stripped from me also. These things irritated me, seeing what way it goes, who the belts are given to, see who the people are who are challenging for the belts and who the person who has the belt is facing to get the belt. Many things irritated me in the game and watching it all unfold, I just became a lot more hungry to come back and show who the real king is.”
UFC 229 takes place on Saturday, October 6 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.