Jan 24, 2021
UFC 257 Post-Fight Press Conference Transcript: Dana White, Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Michael Chandler
The UFC held a press conference after UFC 257 in which Dustin Poirier defeated Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler defeated Dan Hooker, both fights ending in TKO. UFC President Dana White also spoke at the press conference. Read the full transcript here.
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Dana White: (00:01)
Performance of the night, went to Rodriguez, Muradov, Chandler, and Poirier they all won $50,000. Congratulations.
Pretty big night in the lightweight division, especially. So let’s start with the main event, Dustin Poirier, I think one of the biggest wins of his career. What’d you think of his fight tonight?
Dana White: (00:24)
Yeah, no. Listen, he came out, Khabib, when I was with him last week said, “He needs to come out in that first round. He needs to try to grapple, not strike with them.” Tire him out, make him use his arms and legs, get them past, he thought a round and a half and he thought the fight would go the other way, if he could get Conor out of the first round and a half.
Have you had a chance to speak to Conor yet after the result?
Dana White: (00:54)
No. I haven’t seen anybody.
I want to ask you what you thought about Michael Chandler as well, an amazing debut from him.
Dana White: (01:01)
When guys come into the UFC for the first time, they usually have a rough first time in the big stage, he didn’t, he came out and almost seemed like Hooker froze in that first round. And Chandler was just all over him and put on an incredible performance. Listen, man. When you get the platform that we had tonight, you make the most of it. And that kid did, some people did tonight and some didn’t.
I guess now the big question is, because those were two great wins. Was Khabib impressed by anybody? Do we know what he’s thinking?
Dana White: (01:41)
I did talk to Khabib and he said to me, “Dana, be honest with yourself. I’m so many levels above these guys. I beat these guys” and I don’t know, but it doesn’t sound very positive. So we’ll see, and what he said was, I told you guys before, he won’t hold the division up. He already retired. He’s basically retired. I’m the one that’s been trying to get him to do one more.
So do you give him a deadline? Obviously, you’ve got guys that are wanting to compete for a belt and I know he’s not going to hold up, but what’s the schedule in your mind?
Dana White: (02:22)
That doesn’t matter. Because these two just fought. They’re not fighting again anytime soon. So get it figured out.
You think if he is done, do you think those are the two guys that fight for the lightweight title?
Dana White: (02:34)
You talked about the massive platform, any early indication, how are you doing? And also it seemed like there was some … a little bit of tech issues at the start. Do you know what happened there?
Dana White: (02:44)
Yeah, it was mostly on the West Coast. West Coast had some problems, but they got it fixed and yeah, it was a good night. It was a really good night. Top two all time.
Top two all time?
Dana White: (02:58)
Wow. We know you were going after the pirates, the illegal streaming, any news on that one?
Dana White: (03:04)
So let me tell you that story. That’s my phone. So the night that, I guess it was, I did an interview with BT and then I did, I think you asked me at the press conference, right? And I basically said, this is what’s going to happen. So, and I told you guys that we found the guy and we were watching him. He put out a statement that night said, “I will not be streaming the McGregor vs Poirier anymore, but I will show you how to buy it legally” and put out this huge statement. And now his whole streaming service has been deleted and is gone, disappeared. One down and it shitload to go and I’m ready. Every event I’m going to go after one of these guys or more, we’ll se.,
Lastly for me, we didn’t get to see you after the weigh is the whole-
Dana White: (04:09)
And who you are, guy that did this, good move. We had you, pal. I don’t know if he knew something or what, but we had you. And all you had to do is pop up that stream and you were in big trouble. So he did the right thing.
Fair enough. Last thing for me, we hadn’t seen you since the weigh in, is the whole Ottman Azaitar situation, what was in the bag that was brought there? You talk-
Dana White: (04:32)
No clue. No clue.
Dana White: (04:36)
Yeah, no clue. Yeah. Unfortunate.
Speaker 1: (04:42)
Dana White, when you’re watching the main event, the first round Conor going for the shoulder strikes again, Dustin Poirier, going for the take down, when you’re watching that first fight, was it playing out how you had expected?
Dana White: (04:54)
I think, Conor had a good first round doing what Conor does, but Poirier did too. Think Poirier fought the way he needed to fight in the first round.
Speaker 1: (05:04)
Then the calf kicks [inaudible 00:05:05] obviously played a major-
Dana White: (05:07)
Speaker 1: (05:08)
And then I think Dustin even said he kind of thrives being overlooked. He didn’t say he was being overlooked this fight. But I think a lot of people were looking forward to the Khabib, Conor fight. Did you think A, was he being overlooked and did he thrive?
Dana White: (05:19)
Every time I did an interview, I had to talk about Dustin Poirier because the interviewers weren’t. Yeah, he was totally overlooked.
Speaker 1: (05:28)
And then Dan Hooker took his gloves off and tossed them into the octagon after he left. Have you spoken to him at all?
Dana White: (05:34)
No. I haven’t talked to anybody except Khabib.
Speaker 1: (05:38)
Where does Charles Oliveira fit into this lightweight title picture too?
Dana White: (05:40)
Yeah. Good question.
Speaker 1: (05:42)
Then finally, what did you make of the stoppage in the Marina Rodriguez, Amanda Ribas fight. Marina says she basically got two knockouts in one fight.
Dana White: (05:51)
True. That is true. Yeah. It was a bad … he got too close to it to make them think that it was over. And then the second stop, which was good. I guess that’s the way to put it. But yeah.
Speaker 2: (06:09)
Just going back to the Ottman situation, I think I heard you an interview say that they gave the wristbands to their friends, but then the guy who had the wristband scaled the balcony or something. Why did he do that, if you had a wristband? Why couldn’t he just go into the lobby?
Dana White: (06:21)
He did. He did go into the lobby, went into a room, then scaled a couple balconies over to his room.
Speaker 2: (06:29)
Did he just get into the wrong room or something?
Dana White: (06:31)
I don’t know what the hell happened. They gave a wristband to somebody. The guy came up and was …
Speaker 2: (06:39)
Is there a chance of criminal charges being brought against that guy?
Dana White: (06:42)
No. No. We’re not doing that. But getting your fight pulled and getting kicked out of the UFC’s probably bad enough for him. We don’t need any criminal charges against the kid. He’s not a bad kid, he just made a bad decision.
Speaker 2: (06:57)
I meant, the guy who came in.
Dana White: (06:58)
Oh, that’s Abu Dhabi government guy has his name. I don’t know what they’ll do with him. Yeah. That’s up to them.
Speaker 3: (07:11)
Dana, can I ask if Jo Jo Calderwood, do you think she’ll make her way back to Valentina, back to the title picture with that win?
Dana White: (07:18)
That was a great fight. She looked good tonight. All kinds of weapons tonight. I don’t know. I don’t make fights the night of the fight, but obviously, she looked great tonight.
Speaker 3: (07:30)
Dana White: (07:31)
Go ahead, honey.
Sandrine from Cora. Would you say that Chandler’s UFC debut was the most impressive you’ve seen?
Dana White: (07:37)
It’s pretty damn good. I don’t know if I’ve seen one, but like I said to John, a lot of people who come in their first time have a rough go, in the first fight in the UFC, that kid fought like he’s been here for years. So yeah, off the top of my head, I can’t remember a better one.
Dana White: (07:55)
Do you guys hate the back flips as much as I hate the back flips? Just fucking, the kid gets his fight in the UFC, then does a back flip that looks like it’s going to blow out both fucking ankles, knees, and his spine. I don’t get the back flip thing and I don’t like it. Somebody is going to get fucking hurt doing that.
Speaker 4: (08:15)
Sorry. Dana, what do you make of the performance of Rodriguez against Amanda? How do you see the future of Amanda, that had a lot of hype and then got knocked out?
Dana White: (08:24)
Well, it happens. In this fight, she deserved all the hype she got, but when you put two of the baddest women in the world against each other, somebody is going to get it and it was her. It wasn’t that she was over hyped, they’re two top 10. To make it into the UFC and then to make it into the top 10, I knew that was going to be a good fight. And either one of them could have gone in that fight. She wasn’t over hyped.
Speaker 4: (08:56)
We saw the video of you talking to Khabib about the numbers of the UFC 257. Do you have any updates on the numbers?
Dana White: (09:04)
I told Johns, it’s either number two or number three, all time.
Speaker 5: (09:13)
Dana, to your left over here. Conor said in the cage he’s keen to be really active going forward after this and he wants the rounds. Are you considering maybe turning him around relatively quick? Obviously, he needs to recover for a knock like that.
Dana White: (09:28)
Speaker 5: (09:29)
Dana White: (09:29)
I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m sure, in a few hours, he’ll be blowing me up telling me a million things he wants to do. So we’ll see, we’ll see what he wants to do from here.
Speaker 5: (09:41)
Obviously, Dustin’s heading in a different direction, but he says they would maybe like to do part three sometime down the line, is that something you could envision?
Dana White: (09:48)
Yeah. There’s always a trilogy when you got one-on-one.
Speaker 5: (09:53)
Awesome. Thank you.
Dana White: (09:53)
Speaker 6: (09:56)
Here, Muradov jumped out of the gage and ask you to give him an Instagram follow. Is that true?
Dana White: (10:02)
Yeah. Yeah. He jumped over the cage and said, “Dana?” And I walked over there and he says, “Why don’t you follow me on Instagram?” I said, “I’ll follow you right now.” We got it done.
Speaker 6: (10:15)
And also any updates on when you UFC might be coming to Abu Dhabi again?
Dana White: (10:20)
We haven’t left yet.
Speaker 6: (10:23)
We already want to come back.
Dana White: (10:24)
Yeah. If I had to map it out in my head, we’d come back here in June or July. Probably it’d be about that time. Who knows. While we we’re here, there was a new inauguration and we’ll see what happens, traveling in America and all this stuff. It’s going to be, I think, another massive challenge for us this year.
Speaker 6: (10:51)
Speaker 3: (10:53)
Dana, can I ask about Michael Chandler? Because he came past the media and he was saying, ” I’m coming for you, Khabib, I’m coming for you.” What did he shout at you? I see him come over to you just after his victory, just before he exited the cage. Did he say something similar?
Dana White: (11:09)
He was saying all kinds of things. I can’t hear well, so I kept asking what he was saying. I didn’t get most of what he said, but I knew he was fired up and I’m sure he was asking me for something, but I don’t know exactly what he said. You’re going to have to ask him when he comes in here. But yeah, I’m obviously going to talk to Khabib and see if he wants to defend that title. And if he doesn’t, I won’t push it anymore.
Speaker 3: (11:40)
I know we got Khabib’s comments to you. You said that he was levels above those guys, but did he make any special mention of Michael to you?
Dana White: (11:46)
No, he said, “Dana, be honest with yourself.” He wanted to see something spectacular. He hates Conor, so I know he wanted Conor to lose, but there has to be a little piece of him inside that … the fight with him and Conor would have been one of the biggest fights ever, if not the biggest fight.
Dana White: (12:05)
So the last few days, the way that this thing’s been trending, you guys had to feel it with your numbers too, our numbers are off the charts this week. And I was saying that I felt that Khabib, Conor could be the number three fight, all time, period, in all combat sports. Today, I felt like it could be number one. I felt like it could beat McGregor, Mayweather and a piece of him, had to want to be a part of a fight that big.
Speaker 3: (12:40)
Speaker 7: (12:42)
Dana, we just had a taste of what’s like having fans back. Do you think it’s going to be a little weird going back to the Apex and would you have Conor fight, because he wants to stay active, would you have Conor fight at the Apex with no fans?
Dana White: (12:59)
Yeah, coming into this thing, I didn’t know these fans here were great. I figured they’d be crazy tonight. At one point when they were chanting, “Olay,” it sounded like this place was sold out, so it’s cool to have fans, but yeah. We could do Conor at the Apex. I don’t know. I don’t know what we’re going to do. I don’t know what this year is going to hold for any of this stuff with what’s going on in the United States right now. So we’ll see what happens.
Speaker 1: (13:26)
I was going to say, Anderson’s debut was pretty impressive.
Dana White: (13:29)
Yeah. True. Yeah. True.
Speaker 1: (13:32)
And what’d you say about travel, might be more difficult under this administration?
Dana White: (13:36)
It sounds like things are tightening up over there and talking about the 14 day quarantine like Canada and stuff like that. If that happens, that’s going to be a problem.
Speaker 1: (13:47)
If you do come back here. Because I know some people, they had to quarantine for, I think, 10 days or something like that. And they miss that window and have to resell their tickets, is there anything we can do about that, so fans don’t get to miss-
Dana White: (13:57)
Speaker 1: (13:58)
I think some people had bought tickets, but they missed the window for quarantining to get into Abu Dhabi. So they had to sell their tickets because they couldn’t go. Is there anything that can be done about that, if you do come back here?
Dana White: (14:08)
Listen, I’m trying to do everything we can do. This situation is never going to be perfect, but Abu Dhabi is as close to perfect, as you can get. I might have to move here this year. Yeah. It’s as close to perfect as you can get. The way that these guys do everything, everything in this country is done to the best of everybody’s ability. That’s incredible.
Speaker 4: (14:33)
Dana White: (14:34)
Speaker 4: (14:35)
Yeah. You already talked a little bit about Oliveira, but there’s an interview that you said that just engages the fight to make [inaudible 00:14:44] Oliveira. Is that the idea?
Dana White: (14:45)
For who? Oh, I don’t know. Listen, I didn’t make any fights. We’re just talking, people are throwing theories at me. Theoretically, what do you think of this? I didn’t make any fights tonight. I didn’t agree to anything. We’re going to go home. Tuesday is matchmaking. We’ll start figuring stuff out. Go ahead.
Based on your personal knowledge of Conor, how do you think he would react to this defeat? As a personal opinion.
Dana White: (15:17)
Yeah. I think it will make him hungry. I think it’ll make him hungrier. There’s two ways this goes, hungrier or I’m done. He’s got the money. When you think about it, I’m a huge Rocky fan. This is like Rocky Three. Okay. When you get off a 310 foot yacht. You living that good life. It’s tough to be a savage when you’re living like he lives and has the money that he has, on his way up, he was a young, hungry kid, didn’t have any money and he wanted nice things. He wanted nice suits, nice cars and nice houses. He’s got everything he ever wanted. So I don’t know. It goes this way or that way. Yeah. Thanks guys. Have a safe trip home. ( silence)
Congrats, man. Couldn’t have gone much better than that, could it?
Michael Chandler: (16:43)
No, man, I really don’t think it could have. It’s been a long time coming though. Right? Just I felt everything in there. I saw everything in there. There was something about this week. There was something about preparation, meeting the opportunity. I know everyone’s heard it a million times, but man, you’ve seen it, a lot of y’all have seen it. I’ve cut my teeth in this industry for a long time. I’ve been preserved, my brain, my body, my will to win, has been preserved for such a time as this.
Michael Chandler: (17:15)
And it all showed tonight, stepped into that octagon first-time and listen, I’ve been nervous in a lot of fights, in my career. And a lot of times it’s because I’ve had a lot to lose. You’ve seen those match ups, a lot to lose and nothing to lose tonight, man. Top five, lightweight Dan Hooker, of course there was a ton of pressure, but I didn’t feel it. I was there. I had my feet on that octagon canvas, man, rubbing my back on that cage, drinking a little bit of water, team there. I felt at home and onward and upward. Can’t wait to for the next one.
Because it was crazy. Watch you walk out and you’re just nonstop, smile on your face. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen you quite that happy walking into a fight.
Michael Chandler: (17:57)
Yeah. I halfway was a little bit nervous waiting for one of my coaches to be like, “Hey man, settled down. You’re about to get into a fist fight in front of millions of people.” But it just let the emotions run wild. I was crying back in the back, happy tears, thinking about my wife, thinking about my son, and thinking about this opportunity, thinking about this platform, thinking about how God has had me in the palm of his hand since I was a young, young man and there’s been a lot of ups and a lot of tough times, but they have all led me to this. And I just feel so grateful.
Michael Chandler: (18:33)
So humbled by the opportunity to go out there. I finished top five lightweight. We’ll see what’s next. You guys heard me. I would love for Khabib to come back. A little bit … I get it, I haven’t earned the right for him to think that he is not levels above me, yet, with just that performance. But I promise you, I could beat that man. I promise you. If he steps into the octagon with me, he becomes 29 and Chandler and not 30 and 0. So we will see.
I guess you’ve probably heard, Dana. That was exactly what he said, right?
Michael Chandler: (19:06)
Did that burn you a little bit?
Michael Chandler: (19:09)
It did and, man, as I’ve said too, and I looked right into all these other cameras and just said, “Listen Khabib, you are the greatest of all time. You are the goat. You are undefeated. You have looked unbeatable. You are right. None of these guys can hold a candle to you. What are you going to do? Come back and rematch one of these guys, it’s not going to happen. You don’t need to do that. You’re a champion.”
Michael Chandler: (19:27)
But when a guy who shows that he’s got a wrestling pedigree, when a guy who comes in and shows, yeah, he’s not undefeated. Listen, I’m not undefeated. I wear my Ls on my sleeve. I got five of them. A couple of them were weird stoppages, TKO, injury, defaults, whatever you call them. But every single time I’ve come back better. I’m by no means a perfect man inside that cage, inside that octagon. But I promise you, I can beat that man. I promise you. I can beat Khabib. So I told him. Didn’t tell him personally, but I told him through the camera lens, “Listen, you’ve earned every right to be able to sail off into the sunset and continue living your life and making your impact because you’ve done it thus far. But man, if you ever do come back, there’s a man over here waiting for you from High Ridge, Missouri.”
Last thing for me, clearly the Khabib fight would be the one, but if not, I’m sure you heard Dana say, it looks like, you and Dustin for the championship, might make sense. Does that appeal to you?
Michael Chandler: (20:27)
Of course, man, Dustin, there is not a man on this roster that I respect more than Dustin Poirier. Borderline a fan of the man. We sat next to each other before weigh-ins just talking about our wives, our kids, our life, I’m talking to him about my groove ring. I’m like, “Hey man, what kind of silicone ring you wear?” I’m going to send them a box of these. He’s the kind of guy that I would love to go and step into that octagon and beat the freaking crap out of for twenty-five minutes. We both get bonuses, we both go kiss our wives and our kids, and enjoy our-
Michael Chandler: (21:03)
… kiss our wives and our kids and enjoy our lives. But he’s one of those guys. He’s one of the good ones, man. So if that’s what Dana wants, who am I to let him down, man?
Michael Chandler: (21:14)
I took zero damage in this fight. I’m ready to go out there and compete again, ASAP. whether it’s in the sands of Abu Dhabi, or the under the bright lights of Las Vegas, or anywhere in between, I’m ready.
Interviewer 1: (21:30)
You’ve obviously been in a lot of title fights, the Benson Henderson one was a big one going into your contracts, but how would you compare this to your Bellator victories?
Michael Chandler: (21:37)
This is the greatest victory of my life. Listen, you talk about stage, you talk about platform, you talk about opportunity. You talk about tons of doubters, and rightfully so, tons of people that said I was going to go out there and get my chin kneed into the stands and get sent back to the B leagues and all kinds of stuff. And there was a lot of people saying that, and it’s part of it.
Michael Chandler: (22:02)
This one was a satisfying one, and I wasn’t here to prove the doubters wrong. But I was here to prove the believers and the supporters and my fans and my family and my followers right, all those people who have followed me since my High Ridge, Missouri days, my Mizzou wrestling days, all the way through Bellator, and now here into the UFC, everybody who has stood by me through thick and thin, through all the ups and all the downs. we did it, and we’re moving forward.
Interviewer 1: (22:29)
Did you get to say anything to Dan after? It seems like he took his gloves off and threw them into the octagon. So we were a little confused about that too.
Michael Chandler: (22:36)
Yeah. I mean, I just said, “Thank you for the opportunity, man. You’re a warrior.”
Michael Chandler: (22:40)
He was very down. I’m not a big talk-to-your-opponent-after-you-win, I’m really not. I actually think it’s one of the most disrespectful things in the sport. I think it’s absolutely the worst. When you choke a guy out or you knock them out, as soon as he comes to you start hugging them and kissing them. No, let the man take his loss, let him breathe. Let him do his thing inside of his head.
Michael Chandler: (23:05)
I’m not there to be the holier than thou, great god of sportsmanship, to pick them up when he’s … dust him off. No, let him enjoy … not enjoy, but let him deal with what he just went through. Because trust me, I’ve been through it too. And I don’t want anybody to look at me, touch them, touch me, talk to me for about a week. So …
Interviewer 1: (23:26)
And then in the main event, when you’re watching, in terms of actually how the fight played out, Connor obviously going for the shoulders strikes, Dustin going for the calf kicks, that was when it turns. So when you’re watching that, was it playing out how you expected and if not, what was going through your mind?
Michael Chandler: (23:39)
It was. I think Connor was fighting calm, composed, precise. And Dustin kind of seemed like he was buying his time a little bit. I mean, we all know Dustin’s a cardio machine. We all know that he can push into those later rounds. And I think that he probably wanted to get into those later rounds, unless he got Connor up and against the cage, hit him with a barrage of shots, hit him in the temple and knocked him dow, like he did.
Michael Chandler: (24:08)
It was playing out exactly kind of how I thought. The fight materialized exactly how it did. And Dustin Poirier looked phenomenal tonight. Connor will dust himself back off and come on back soon.
Interviewer 2: (24:23)
Mike, right here in front of you. Someone posted a picture of you before your walkout, and it says that you told this person that you felt better than ever. What was going through your mind when you’re walking to the arena?
Michael Chandler: (24:38)
As untouchable as I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I just felt confident. I felt good. I felt calm. I felt happy. I’m always happy to compete.
Michael Chandler: (24:50)
Listen, God has given me some great gifts, two capable arms, two capable legs, to do something that not a lot of people get to do, that lot of people look at. You right now, are asking me questions about it. This is an amazing life that I get to live. And I’ve had a lot of highlights in my career, a lot of great times of my career, but this was by far the best. It really was.
Michael Chandler: (25:11)
The pressure, the lights, the platform, the pay-per-view, the names, the everything, it was just huge. You couldn’t have scripted a better chapter in, in my career. Now a new chapter, a blank canvas, a masterpiece that I can paint, that every single day, painting a new brush stroke, so my son Hap can see it some day and know that his dad did everything that he possibly could with the talents that he was given. And that’s just the way that I felt.
Michael Chandler: (25:36)
I just say, “Thank you, God. Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity.” I’ve said it 1,000 times on the way there. And the fight happened, how it happened. And here we are. I’ll see at the top.
Interviewer 2: (25:47)
My last question is … You just mentioned your son, and it’s his birthday. It was yesterday, but it’s still his birthday in America. Was that a gift you want to give him?
Michael Chandler: (25:56)
Yeah. Yeah, I think so. I mean, the thing that I want to give him the most is my time, my love, my me being there. And it’s painful at times. It’s tough. It’s tough being away from him, but he will know without a shadow of a doubt that every man has to work, and what we do with our life can impact people. It can change people’s lives. It can help people fight the fights that they’re going through. And he will see this masterpiece that I’m painting. And he’ll know that even though his dad wasn’t there all the time, and yes, I missed a birthday or we’re away from each other for short periods of time, that I was out there pursuing God’s best for my life. And he will in turn, do that someday. And that kid is going to speak to nations.
Michael Chandler: (26:41)
He’s going to change his generation. He is going to lead his generation, I promise you that. And I just hope that I can lead lead by example. And it was a phenomenal, phenomenal night. And I can’t wait to get on that plane and get back home.
Interviewer 3: (26:57)
Michael, here, here. Hey, I don’t know if you follow these type of things, but [Patricia Pitchable 00:00:27:04] posted a message for you, calling you his son, but he also said that you will be the next champion of the UFC. What do you make of this comments of Patricia?
Michael Chandler: (27:17)
Interviewer 3: (27:21)
He said it even before your fight today.
Michael Chandler: (27:25)
Interviewer 3: (27:28)
And next thing, I know you, one step at a time, you probably will fight for a title. But in your future, do you think about going after the champ status at some point?
Michael Chandler: (27:41)
If the opportunity presents itself. I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of great fights in this organization. I mean, this is the Mecca of great fights. There’s a ton of great fights. I am by no means a welterweight. I definitely can make featherweight, but I am by no means a welterweight height. One 55 is the perfect weight class for me. I feel good there. The weight is not the easiest to make, so I’d love to find some guys at one 70. I’d love to test my hand at welterweight, but it’s got to be the right guy. There’s a BMF belt out there. There’s the possible welterweight belt, if I ever did go up, but it’s got to be right fights.
Michael Chandler: (28:26)
There’s no shortage of great fights in this lightweight division. I mean, look at the guys that fought tonight. So, we’ll see. One 55 is where I need to be, where I like to be, where I want to capture my first title. And then we’ll go from there.
Interviewer 3: (28:38)
And you have been training with GIlbert Burns. What can you say about his chance against Kamaru Usman?
Michael Chandler: (28:43)
He is the man, man. Gilbert Burns lives it, inside the gym, outside the gym. Family man, great human being. I think you’re going to see Gilbert Burns as the next champion. I think where he’s at mentally, where he’s at physically, he is a large human being. The fact that he ever made one 55 is … it blows my mind.
Michael Chandler: (29:10)
We worked together for this fight. He had a lot of insight on Dan Hooker. He’s the best technician on the ground, in the world, in my opinion. Power in both hands. I can’t wait to see that fight. Obviously, Kamaru Usman, is a friend of mine, former teammate, but I believe Gilbert Burns will be able to get that done.
Interviewer 4: (29:32)
I just asked Dana White if your UFC debut was the most impressive one he’s ever seen. And he said that he can’t think of a better one. I’m sure you were very much prepared for this fight, but did you really at any stage expect this scenario?
Michael Chandler: (29:46)
Man, at this point, you got to stop second-guessing God’s best for your life. You do. Like, “Well, maybe I don’t deserve it. Maybe it’ll be a lackluster performance.” Hey, Eddie lost his first fight. He still became champion. All these things that human beings go through. We all go through these crazy thoughts.
Michael Chandler: (30:01)
Why not just let it fly? Why not just believe that you are the best in the world. Why not just believe that you can accomplish great things? So you couldn’t have scripted it any better.
Michael Chandler: (30:10)
Listen to Dana say that, saying me and Dustin possibly for the title next. Who knows? Like, even the fact that I’m getting talked about next fight being for the title. That being said, that’s great news.
Michael Chandler: (30:23)
UFC debut. I wanted to come in here and do something great. The word of the week was always remarkable, or spectacular, or whatever the word was, that everybody wanted to see. One of them cool adjectives. But that’s what I go for every single fight.
Michael Chandler: (30:38)
I’ve never been in a boring fight. I’ve lost some fights, but they were always exciting. So couldn’t have scripted it any better. I took zero damage. We live to fight another day, and can’t wait to get back in there. I can’t wait to get out there, celebrate my team, and then also talk to the UFC brass and see what is about to happen. Maybe we can get [Khabib 00:30:55] on the phone. We’ll see.
Interviewer 4: (30:57)
Michael Chandler: (30:58)
Interviewer 5: (31:01)
Michael, to your left here. How many times did you rehearse the Ric Flair [inaudible 00:00:31:06]?
Michael Chandler: (31:08)
I thought about it a couple of times. So, the origination of that was actually DC and Ariel talking about why I was in the video game. Ariel said I shouldn’t have been in the video game. I hadn’t fought in the UFC yet. And DC was like, “Well, yeah, but he’s Ric Flair.” He came over from WCW, and he got the title shot right away. Everybody was mad, but he’s Ric Flair. So kind of funny,
Michael Chandler: (31:28)
I’m actually not the biggest WWE pro wrestling guy, but it was the best day of my professional career. I didn’t do the whole tear-in-my-eye thing. I thought that was a little over-the-top. And then the call-outs came after that.
Interviewer 5: (31:42)
You say it’s the best day of your career, but you’re a three-time Bellator Lightweight Champion. Do you think that is the best day of your career? Because obviously, as we talked about in the buildup, there were people that were doubting your legitimacy and obviously, you [inaudible 00:31:57] size them in [inaudible 00:31:58] fashion.
Michael Chandler: (31:59)
Yeah. Listen, I mean, it depends on what you fight for. Do you fight for money? Do you fight for cars, glitz, glam? Do you fight because you like to fight and inflict harm on people?
Michael Chandler: (32:09)
I think I like all of those things in moderation, or to a certain extent. But the biggest thing that I want to do with this career, with the talents that God has given me, is be on the biggest stage, the biggest platform, to have the loudest voice possible.
Michael Chandler: (32:24)
It doesn’t get any better than the co-main event, sharing the octagon right before Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier go out there, two of the most electrifying lightweights on the planet. It doesn’t get any bigger than that. I can’t wait to see the numbers.
Michael Chandler: (32:36)
Every single one of those people saw my fight. It wasn’t the first fight of the night and people were just kind of, “Maybe I’ll buy it. Maybe I won’t.” It was the co-main event. I was warming up the octagon for two of the baddest dudes, two of the biggest superstars on the planet. It doesn’t get any bigger than that platform.
Michael Chandler: (32:51)
So yes, best day of my professional career, because I was able to have this voice, have this platform, have this opportunity.
Interviewer 5: (32:58)
And what’s been the reaction from the friends and family? Your phone must just be blowing up right now. Right?
Michael Chandler: (33:02)
It is. I haven’t talked to anybody besides my wife. Called her right away. She was in tears. She’s proud of me. I would not be sitting here today, doing what I’m able to do without that woman, her support, her selflessness, her sacrifice. She’s a career woman herself. So she’s working a full-time job, getting extra degrees, becoming a doctor, taking care of our son, taking out the trash, doing all the stuff that I should be doing. So, can’t wait to get on that plane and go see her. But phone’s blowing up. Social media is blowing up, obviously. So it’s great. This is just part of the ride. And here we go, heading to the top.
Interviewer 5: (33:38)
Finally, you were eyeing them during the media date. Do you want another brownie? I saved one for you, because [crosstalk 00:12:42]-
Michael Chandler: (33:42)
Oh, my gosh. Yes, I do. You have a brownie right now?
Interviewer 5: (33:45)
Yes, I do.
Michael Chandler: (33:45)
All right. Consider it my-
Interviewer 5: (33:46)
It was my last one. I-
Michael Chandler: (33:49)
You’re a swell guy. You are a swell guy. Thank you.
Interviewer 5: (33:52)
I wish my fiance thought that.
Michael Chandler: (33:53)
Interviewer 6: (33:56)
Mike, over here to your left. You’ve talked a lot about what you think a fight with Habib would look like. But if you end up fighting Dustin, what do you think that fight looks like?
Michael Chandler: (34:05)
Listen, as I said, as a human being, I think Dustin Poirier … you don’t get any better than that. Also, just his story, where he came from. He’s like every other young kid from a small town, who had some rough patches and wasn’t quite sure where the direction in life he was going to go. And now look at him, look where he’s at. Look what he’s done. Look what he’s accomplished. It’s nothing short of amazing. Dustin Poirier is a fight that I think is a great matchup for me. I think it’s a fight that fans want to see. I mean, at this point, now that I’m finally a UFC fighter, now that I’m finally a guy who’s got a win in the octagon, a guy who kind of can say, “Hey, I’m one of the guys now.” I think the fans are like, “Okay, now I want to see that Chandler guy fight again.” And why not Dustin Poirier?
Michael Chandler: (34:56)
Respect him in every sense of the word, and in businesses business. We go out there, we touch gloves. And then we collect our paychecks, and we go take care of our families.
Interviewer 6: (35:06)
And last thing. You mentioned you are a UFC fighter now,[crosstalk 00:14:09].
Michael Chandler: (35:09)
Interviewer 6: (35:11)
Can you just describe what the experience was like, compared to obviously past experiences in your fighting career, fighting in this venue, the environment, Bruce Buffer intro-ing you, and just all those things?
Michael Chandler: (35:23)
The Bruce Buffer thing, that was something that my … I roomed with my best friend and manager, Randall, this whole week. And this morning, we’re going over the … He does a great Bruce Buffer impression, so we were just going over that. And it was surreal, but it was also, it helped me visualize, it helped me see everything. It helped me be in that octagon before I got there. The whole experience has been nothing short of amazing.
Michael Chandler: (35:54)
That first trip to Abu Dhabi was great, because I got to meet everybody, all my coworkers, and all the people I’m going to spending time with for the next five years, or whatever, the remainder of my career. And it’s been great, obviously. Everything is just much bigger.
Michael Chandler: (36:11)
I’ve been competing at a high level for a long time, but everything is just much bigger here. This is a well-oiled machine. And the organization of the UFC, what they’re doing on a worldwide stage is just … it’s great to be a part of it. Glad to intro myself on this stage, get that first round knockout. And man, it’s kind of surreal that this whole thing is over now. And I’m about to hop on the plane, and we got the win.
Michael Chandler: (36:35)
You always visualize this this moment, and it’s kind of just hitting you, so it’s great
Interviewer 7: (36:41)
Michael, over here, mate. So Dana said he’s not a fan of the back-flip.
Michael Chandler: (36:47)
That was the first back-flip I’ve ever done in my entire career off the cage. So-
Interviewer 7: (36:51)
I mean, the landing, I was worried.
Michael Chandler: (36:52)
Well, I always do back-flips from the canvas-to-canvas, not cage-to-canvas. So I’m really sorry, Dana, about that, but legs are great. My F-ing and ankles and F-ing knees or whatever he said earlier, they’re good. They’re fine.
Interviewer 7: (37:09)
He also said he didn’t quite hear what you said to him in the cage. So do you want to relay the message to him?
Michael Chandler: (37:17)
I don’t quite know either. I was blacked out. I won’t remember any of this either. No, but probably just something like … something about Khabib.
Michael Chandler: (37:28)
Listen, I was sitting back there, over there at the site of his press conference. I’m like “Daggum, dude, you must not want to come back. If you don’t want to come back, that’s fine. But don’t act like your levels above me.”
Michael Chandler: (37:38)
I promise you. I will bury that man. I’m getting mad thinking about it, but I would love to fight him. But like I said, he’s the champion for a reason. He deserves to sail off into the sunset. So no more back-flips, because of F-ing ankles and F-ing knees. But yeah, I just, sad, “Let’s go, man. I’m excited.” Probably said something about the promo I cut at the end. We’ll see.
Interviewer 7: (38:07)
Going back to Habib’s retirement. Obviously, your road to the UFC, a lot of people would have liked to have seen you here a lot earlier, but will it be a bit sad that you don’t get to test yourself against Habib, obviously undefeated, the man who many consider to be the greatest lightweight champion of all? Would it feel a bit almost tainted if you won the title and it wasn’t against him?
Michael Chandler: (38:29)
To know that he’s out there and still in his prime, it’s a little tough pill to swallow. Because when a guy retires because he’s past his prime, or he just barely held on long enough to retire …
Michael Chandler: (38:45)
Like GSP, did he retire with the title? Yeah, he retired with the title and just wanted to … but he had earned that right, just like could be Khabib did. But he was kind of past his prime a little bit, not really.
Michael Chandler: (38:56)
I think what we think a fighter’s prime is as much later than most people would say. Everybody says, “It’s a young man’s game.” It’s not. Every superstar on this roster is post-30 now, almost.
Michael Chandler: (39:08)
So it will be a little bittersweet if it’s not against Habib, because I think he’s the greatest of all-time thus far, in the lightweight division. But as I said, if we fight, he’s going to be 29 and Chandler.
Speaker 8: (39:25)
Thank you, guys.
Speaker 9: (39:26)
Thank you, guys. (silence)
Conor, clearly, I’m sure, frustrated with the result, not what you’re hoping for, but what are the emotions like for you right now?
Conor McGregor: (40:01)
Yeah, it’s heartbreaking, John. It’s hard to take. Damn. [Inaudible 00:40:04]. The highest highs and the lowest lows in this game. My leg is completely dead. And even though I felt like I was checking them, it was just sinking into the muscle at the front of the leg. And it was badly compromised. It’s like an American football [inaudible 00:19:21]. So, it is what it is.
Conor McGregor: (40:25)
Dustin fought a helluva of a fight, engaged in the take down with him. I thought I done well. I got up [inaudible 00:40:31] him. I was in my head, thinking, “I’ll take him down. I’m going to just tie up now.”
Conor McGregor: (40:35)
I felt all right in the clinch with him. I was better than him in the clinch, but too little, too late. The leg was compromised, and I didn’t adjust. That’s it. Fair play.
Conor McGregor: (40:47)
Dustin, very happy for him. I’m very happy that I got to compete in this in these times and come back May 11th UFC main event. And that’s it. It’s hard.
Conor McGregor: (40:59)
I don’t know where I’m at, at the minute, to be honest.
We think about your mental toughness and what you’re made of. I mean, was that difficult for you to know, like, This leg just isn’t working anymore. Like there’s, I’m, I’m dead in here.”?
Conor McGregor: (41:13)
I was going to tough it out. Do you know what I mean? I toughed it out as much as I could, but it was an unusual one [inaudible 00:20:19], where I would feel okay in sparring or something, checking that side.
Conor McGregor: (41:23)
I felt like I lifted the leg up multiple times, but it just sunk into the muscle at the front, and it was badly compromised. And then Dustin had a good, solid defense as well, too. So when I was pressing forward with the shots, he was defending well.
Conor McGregor: (41:40)
It is what it is. He fought a helluva fight, and that’s it. What can you do? I’m happy for him.
You said the inactivity just caught up to you. I mean, is it physical? Is it a timing? what was the cost of the inactivity?
Conor McGregor: (41:52)
It’s the whole shebang. You know what I mean? But I have no excuses here. It was a phenomenal performance by Dustin, and that’s it. I don’t know what I …
Conor McGregor: (42:03)
… and that’s it, I don’t know what to say. I’m going to go back, I’m going to chill out, I’m just going to watch the full fight and get a better grasp on it. But the leg was compromised and I was rushing the shots a little bit and I didn’t adjust. And that’s that, it’s a bitter, bitter pill to swallow. And I don’t even know whether I’m that upset, I don’t know. I don’t know what to say.
Last thing for me, Conor, Dana was here earlier and he said like he hadn’t talked to you yet, but he was like, “This could go one of two ways. Either A, Conor gets hungry, you know what I mean? It drives him and he comes back better than ever. Or he walks away. He know he’s got money in the bank, he doesn’t need to do this.” As you sit there right now, which of those two paths sounds right?
Conor McGregor: (42:47)
Yeah. I’ll certainly regroup, I’ll regroup and pick myself up, you know what I mean? Get up off the floor and go again and that’s it. Styles make fights, there’s many great stylistic match-ups out there. Me, myself and Dustin are one-and-one myself, and Nate are one-and-one. There’s many good match-ups for me and I’ll adopt a different approach for the trilogy, I feel with Dustin, because those leg kicks are not to be messed with. You know what I mean? A that calf kick, the low calf kick, I’ve never experienced that.
Conor McGregor: (43:16)
And it just was a good one, so it’s not that I haven’t got the style in me to switch it up and keep that at bay. And I have a lot more weapons I didn’t get to show. It wasn’t my night, it wasn’t a great night, but again, no excuses. Hats off and regroup and pick myself up. I look forward to going back now and seeing the kids and just taking the licks, man. It’s a bastard of a game. It is what it is. There’s not a mark on me face, I wasn’t rattled or anything, it was just, I had no leg. And fair fucking play, he fought well. Yeah, I look forward to [inaudible 00:43:55]
Speaker 10: (43:56)
Conor, was the the leg something that you felt growing over time as he landed more shots, or did it suddenly happen? Because in the final sequence, there’s a moment where it looks like your leg suddenly goes dead and your balance goes?
Conor McGregor: (44:07)
Yeah, it was accumulating, accumulated for sure. I knew when I seen that he had Tiago Alvarez in the corners like these, I knew what was coming. I knew he likes to kick the low-key. He’s also experienced that kick before, himself, Kagan. That’s my first time to experience that. But one of them soon gain early and Tiago said, “That was a good one.” And I was in my head thinking, “You bastard, it was a good one.” And then it just started accumulating up. But, fuck it, it is what it is, man. I’m not that upset over it, which is another weird one for me, you know what I mean?
Conor McGregor: (44:42)
I’m happy, I put in an immense amount of work. I gave it me all and I’ll regroup for sure. You know what I mean? I’ll adopt maybe a different stance. And every opponent has a different… You have to approach things differently with everyone. And south paws and that back kick wrapping around the front part of that muscle on the low leg is something that I must adjust to. It’s not like it’s not within me to do that, so that’s what I will do.
Speaker 10: (45:11)
Dustin looks like he’s going to go on and fight for a title now. You mentioned his name. Do you think now’s the time to do the Nate rematch? Would that be a fight that makes sense for you, or you’re not even thinking about that?
Conor McGregor: (45:20)
No, I’m not. I was just kind of thinking I have a lot of… Like I said, styles make fights. I adopted a similar approach against Nate, but I was above the leg, it was the leg kick above. And that low one is an interesting one, for sure. It’s a very interesting kick, same stance. Opposite stance, it’s nothing. You know what I mean? He threw, actually, an opposite, a right low kick, and I checked it clean. But the outside ones wrapping around. And even though I felt like it toned the leg out, checked it, and you have to almost turn it right out and it has to hit the bone, it can’t hit the muscle. And that’s it.
Conor McGregor: (45:55)
Me and Dustin now, it’s one-and-one. For sure, we’ll go again. I hurt him in the first round. He got a good take down. I turned him against the fence, caught him on a nice elbow, caught him on my spinning hook kick. More activity, I feel, straight away. As soon as I was catching loads of the kicks, and he was kicking out, catching it. Straight away then, I should’ve just closed and clenched him. You know what I mean? I’ve got all the moves and all the skills in me game. You know what I mean? And I felt I was out clenching him, and I felt stronger than him. I just didn’t adjust in time and that’s it. It is what it is.
Speaker 10: (46:36)
You mentioned the clench. There was a moment where you were both against the cage trading shoulder shots with each other, and it looked like you were having a conversation or something. Were you guys talking to each other?
Conor McGregor: (46:46)
Yeah, just the usual cracking back and forth, one for one it was. But I felt the better ones, anyway.
Speaker 10: (46:55)
And last thing for me, Conor, you say you’re sitting there and you’re not upset and that’s a bit of a weird one. Is part of that because this is something that you love to do, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it anymore? And the fact is, despite the loss, you finally have been able to compete again for the first time in a year. John mentioned about, “Our people worry you might sort of go off and leave the game.” Are you still happy right now? Are you happy that you just got to compete?
Conor McGregor: (47:18)
Yeah, I am, I am happy. I’m disappointed, but I’m happy for sure. I got to come out here and do this fight here in the Middle East, put on a show for the people. I done me best. And things don’t go your way at times, but pick yourself up and carry on. I’ve got a lot of good things going on in me life, if you know what I mean? So I’ll just keep me head high and that’s it. And take the shots, take the licks and just fucking keep on going.
Speaker 10: (47:47)
Thanks very much, man.
Speaker 11: (47:48)
Conor, right here. A lot was made, coming into this fight, of the sheer size of Dustin. A lot of people said he was cutting down from 180 to 155. Did you feel the strength or size of him in there?
Conor McGregor: (48:00)
No. I was way stronger in the clenching. And I turned hm against the fence, I had him pinned. And we both had to make one… Well, I made 155, they made 156. But no, he just fought a good fight, an experienced fight. He’s been in here a lot, almost more than double the amount of time I’ve been in here, in the cage. And that’s it, it’s a hard… You keep showing up, you’ll get there. And like I said, I’m very happy for Dustin and his wife, and the things that they’ve been doing. I’m proud and honored, like I said before, proud and honored to share the octagon with him and we all want a piece.
Speaker 11: (48:40)
I don’t want to sour your mood, but Habib has responded to your loss on Twitter. He says, this is what he wrote. He goes, “This is what happened when you changed your team, leaving the sparring partners who made you a champion and sparring with little kids far away from reality.” Do you have a response to that at all?
Conor McGregor: (48:56)
My team has been the team since day one, I’ve not changed anything. It is what it is. Respect the athletes, and that’s the character of the man, for sure, behind the mask. And whatever, what’s he want to do? Does he want to come back or no? Because he’s not throwing to no leg kicks, you know what I mean? I got up off the ground against Dustin, I turned Dustin. You know what I mean? Look at little pockets of that sequence where he fights. Like I said, styles make fights.
Conor McGregor: (49:27)
Every fight is a different fight. That’s why all this prestige and all that people try and hold on to. I don’t hold on to that. Whether someone has multiple wins or multiple losses. Every fight between every man is different and that’s it. Dustin’s style just played into it today and he has the durability, he has experience and he has that leg kick now in his arsenal and I’ll adjust and keep going. But if he wants to have his disrespectful comments, come back and let’s go again, my man. You know what I mean? I’m here for that.
Speaker 11: (50:00)
Yeah. Dana did say it’s-
Conor McGregor: (50:02)
That’s fighting talk. So if you’re coming back, come back. You try and do it. So that’s that.
Speaker 12: (50:12)
One of the main comments right now on social media from all the fans is, “Even legends can lose.” How do you feel to have such an amazing fan base that supports you until the end?
Conor McGregor: (50:23)
I’m very, very grateful for the support I receive. It’s got me up off the floor many times throughout my competitive life and me personal life. And that’s what I said, I’m proud and honored to come here before you and put a show on for people of the world. To do this through Christmas, to go the 155, to give it a shot. I done this for the support, for the fans, for the people that support me. And all I can say is I’m sorry I let the side down. And I’m fresh. I’m healthy. There was no trauma blows, there was no… It’s just me leg is like a football. Below me knee is literally like a football, an American football inside me suit pants. It went right up into the hip.
Conor McGregor: (51:13)
In Thailand when they themselves a wax with the oil there, with the stick to strengthen up the shins. I hope now I might be getting that little bit of durability in that muscle now. Like I’m developing the antibodies or something, you know what I mean? If you want to put it like that. So I’ll adjust and keep the head high. It’ll be a rough few days and that, but I’m going to go back and enjoy me kids, have fun. It’s morning here, I’m going to still do me thing, have me Proper Irish coffee, have me [inaudible 00:51:47] go back to the yacht. We have a child on the way this summer. There’s a lot of good in my life, and I’ll be smiling and I’ll be happy and that’s it.
Speaker 13: (51:58)
Hey Conor, a wise man once said, “He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.” And although we didn’t get to see the masterpiece that you intended on creating tonight, we got to see a sensational display of heart, charisma and pride all week. I feel that the people that will take the most away from this will be your children. Leading by example in defeat. And if that’s not a masterclass, I don’t know what is. Do you agree?
Conor McGregor: (52:24)
Thank you, sir. I appreciate that. You’ve been great all week and now you’re bringing things back to make me well up.
Speaker 13: (52:29)
Conor McGregor: (52:31)
I’m very happy to have me kids here and me family with me, side by side. And I am who I am at this time, you know what I mean? I’m a different man for sure. And the competitive fire is still in me. And like I said, I will regroup and adjust and come back. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.
Speaker 13: (52:50)
Thank you, my friend.
Interviewer 3: (52:52)
Conor, here. We know that you are the type of fighter that always liked to engage with the audience, with the fence. How was that experience today? And looking to the future, do you consider fighting the UFC backs with no fence?
Conor McGregor: (53:08)
I thought it was great, it was just like fighting in the prelims. I felt good and that’s it. It felt no different, inside the octagon is inside the octagon, and I just need more time in there. Just to be settled. And then, I just need to make me adjustments and go for it.
Interviewer 3: (53:28)
And after what we saw today with Michael Chandler, I don’t know if you had the opportunity to watch the knockout?
Conor McGregor: (53:35)
I did, yeah. I thought it was a beautiful knockdown. [inaudible 00:53:37] it was a good fight.
Interviewer 3: (53:40)
Dennis said that probably this will be the next title fight. Who do you pick, Chandler or Poirier?
Conor McGregor: (53:48)
I don’t know, man. I don’t know. I don’t know. Don’t just write me off yet. I’ll make me adjustments and keep moving, so anything can happen in this game. And I’ll go back, I’ll get healthy and I’ll re prepare. I’ve built an incredible… I’ve got to a great place in me body, physically. And I’m going to continue to grow on that. You know what I mean? I get the swelling down in the leg and I’ll get back to me training and me cardiovascular work, me strength work, me skills work, and just keep living the martial arts life.
Speaker 14: (54:26)
Conor, can I just… Over this way, sorry. You’ve spoken, there’s so many people talking about you when it’s like Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather, and getting into boxing and all of that kind of stuff. Does something like today make you think, “I want to concentrate on one thing,” or are you still going to be kind of open-minded to do that?
Conor McGregor: (54:45)
Geez, there’s none of them leg kicks in boxing anyway. But look, I always did want to focus on me MMA courier, but I’m also open. I’ll just see what happens. I don’t know what will happen. That Manny fight was happening, it was as good as done. So I don’t know, man. I just want to get in and just get back into a bounce, and especially against that style of fighter, and not take those kicks. Don’t play with those kicks. Although, I don’t know. It’s just a motherfucker to take, man. That’s me mind’s going, so I’m just trying to replay all the sequences. And I haven’t watched the fight back yet. I just had a shower and came here, and I look forward to watching that back.
Speaker 14: (55:37)
How did you feel in that first round, though? Because I thought, just me here, that you’re striking was going really well and stuff. Was it just a case of that first kick where was you was like, “Ah.”
Conor McGregor: (55:46)
It wasn’t just… Yeah, no. It just kept building up, you know what I mean? And then I threw one at him, I was like, “Throw your kicks, man.” I wanted to let him walk… Even when we were in the clench, he got the take down and I got back up and turned him. I was like, “Right, lovely.” Where I’m getting more time in the octagon, that was in my head. I was like, “Lovely now, we got a bit more time in here now.” So I wasn’t in a hurry. And you know me, I come out, “Wha!” And I go over it. So there’s a lot of me head now. I’m not even like, “Oh, maybe I need to go back that way.” I’m just going to be who I am in the moment and take things as they come. And that’s it.
Speaker 14: (56:25)
You say the Pacquiao fight is probably on the back burner now, is that because of the leg, I assume?
Conor McGregor: (56:30)
I don’t know how long. It’s muscle, it’s all muscle. It’s just deep into the muscle and it’s just a complete dead leg right the way up. It’s no bone, no nothing, not a mark on the head. I’m just plain good, man. It’s just [inaudible 00:56:43] instead of a bleeding dead leg. But it is what it is, man. Fair play to him, it was a smart fight. He got the shot, he got me down in the first, man. I should’ve just tied it up in the fucking… When I caught a few of them kicks, I should have laid and just pressed him against the fence and keep beating him in the fence. Hit him with a lovely elbow on the temple that hurt him. Should have just kept mauling him.
Conor McGregor: (57:07)
Generally, I felt well stronger than him, well stronger. So maybe I’ll switch up my game the next time we fight Dustin, and maybe you’ll see a grappling side of me the next time me and Dustin go ahead. I just have to keep going and just be able to go through the disciplines seamlessly, and make the correct decisions in there. And that will only come with time in the octagon. You can do a billion rounds outside, but without time inside the octagon life, it’s a hard thing to do. So I’ve got away with it the last while, but not tonight.
Speaker 14: (57:42)
And lastly from me, I want to talk about the evolution of your character that we’ve seen. You’re very humble and you’ve been very respectful and classy for this whole process. Talk to me, do you think becoming a father has really brought that out of you and that makes you appreciate things like this that much more? You can go to your family after this. That’s why you’re maybe not as upset as what you said?
Conor McGregor: (58:02)
Yeah, but I mean, yeah, of course. But I am upset, I’m upset. I’m sad, but I’m still a contender. I’m happy. And like you said, I’ve got a lot going. It’s not nice going back without the win, you know what I mean? That’s for sure. But life is like that sometimes and we pick ourselves up and keep going.
Speaker 15: (58:23)
Conor, just real quick to your left over here. I know you would have rather had the win, but Dana did say when he was in here that this was one of the two or three highest selling pay-per-views in UFC history. What does that mean to you and say about your drawing power still at this point?
Conor McGregor: (58:38)
Yeah, it’s always good. I tried to come in and give a show all across the board, in the lead up and in the fight week and in the fight itself. Sometimes you come in here and make magic, and sometimes you don’t. And I’m happy with all my records and I’m happy that I got to compete and do it again. It is what it is.
Speaker 15: (58:59)
What do you think is a bigger trilogy, Dustin or Diaz?
Conor McGregor: (59:02)
I think they’re both pretty, pretty big. Two south paws as well, which is interesting. Yeah, they’re both there, so see what happens.
Speaker 15: (59:14)
Is there one you want more?
Conor McGregor: (59:19)
Yeah, I don’t know. I just want to regroup for a minute, to be honest, you know what I mean? I want to just watch the fight and see where I’m at. Right now, I’d probably say Dustin, obviously. It’s fresh, and that’s it.
Speaker 15: (59:33)
Speaker 16: (59:34)
Conor, just one last question here. Over here to your right, just over here. The other day you were saying, “What does the champ champ do? He does it again.” The lightweight title, where do you see yourself in that now? Is that something that you really feel you want to regain before you retire? Or are you comfortable just taking fights you just mentioned?
Conor McGregor: (59:50)
No, I would love to get in and get back on the horse and secure the new belt with the Irish flag on it, for sure. And anything can happen in this business, as long as you stay active, as long as you compete. Things shape around you, you know what I mean? You show up, you reap the rewards and that’s it. That’s what’s happened for Dustin tonight, and it’s what’s happened against me tonight. I’ll keep me on the prize, for sure. All right, thank you guys so much, I appreciate it. Thank you all.
Dustin, congratulations. Obviously not a title fight, but still a pretty big one, right? Talk about the fear right now and just kind of where this ranks as a career moment for you.
Dustin Poirier: (01:00:50)
It’s definitely up there. Beating Max, getting an interim belt. Knocking out Conor on a pay-per-view main event, it’s up there for sure. I’m happy, man.
All the discussion kind of coming into this was about your mental check, and it wasn’t going to be a difficult mental battle, versus necessarily just tactics and that sort of things. Was this a tough mental test to get in there that first minute and put all that behind?
Dustin Poirier: (01:01:14)
I wasn’t even thinking about the first fight, honestly. But every fight is a mental tests. This stuff is scary and you have anxiety in the locker room and the week of the fight. More so this one, man. Training camp, all that stuff, it gets blocked out. That’s all noise to me. But this fricking thing, dude, I’m sitting in a hotel for two weeks on Fight Island with nothing to do but think about the fight. But like Conor said, I’ve got a lot of experience in this game. And like I’ve said, I just don’t care anymore what anyone thinks, so it’s whatever.
You used the wrestling early, which we thought would probably be a big factor, but ended up getting it done on the feet. Was the game plan to use more wrestling, or did you think you’d be able to out strike him?
Dustin Poirier: (01:01:54)
The game plan was to not be heavy on my feet and throw power shots and box early. The game plan was to kick and wrestle and box, to mix it up and make it a mixed martial arts fight. To kick inside, to kick outside. Mike Brown was real big on me throwing calf kicks this fight, really big on it, really wanted me to. And it worked, man. We compromised his leg and he was in a bad position early, just from the repeated leg kicks. Even when he started checking, he wasn’t contacting with the shin. A small rotation more, I would’ve been paying for those kicks. But I was still getting the muscle of his leg, and that part of your leg and muscle is so small and thin that you can’t take many shots there. After the second leg kick, I knew he was hurting.
He says he wants to regroup and come back. And what do you think, is a trilogy in order somewhere down the line? Do you think it has to happen at some point?
Dustin Poirier: (01:02:44)
I mean, we’re one-and-one for knockouts, right? This is CTE Island, this ain’t Fight Island. We’ll see, I don’t know. I can’t tell the future. But we’re, one-and-one, we both TKO’d at each other, so you probably have to do it again, right?
I like it. Dana was here a little bit earlier, said he spoke to Habib-
Dustin Poirier: (01:03:03)
Speaker 17: (01:03:03)
I like it. Dana was here a little bit earlier. He said he spoke to Khabib. It doesn’t look like Khabib is going to come back right now. Are you okay with that? And if so, it seems like Chandler would probably be the fight for the title, you and him. Does that make sense to you?
Dustin Poirier: (01:03:13)
No, it does not. Respect to Chandler. Great win over a guy. But to come in and beat a guy I just beat and get a title shot, dude, I’ve been in, what is this? 27, 28 fights in the UFC, trying everything, find the toughest of the toughest guys to get my hands on gold. He should fight Charles Oliveira or something. Let Chandler and Charles Oliveira go at it. That doesn’t really interest me at this point. I’m going to sell hot sauce if that’s the case.
Speaker 17: (01:03:39)
Last thing for me. I guess they were saying on the broadcast that you went over to Cormier in the broadcast and you said, “I don’t even like this. I don’t like this anymore.” What was that about?
Dustin Poirier: (01:03:48)
I just felt like in the locker room, I just felt flat. I mean, I’m damn good at it. But I just felt flat and I just felt really calm. I don’t know. It’s hard to say, but that’s it exactly. I don’t really like this anymore. I don’t know.
Speaker 17: (01:04:08)
Are you done?
Dustin Poirier: (01:04:11)
We’ll see. I mean, dude, I’ve got so many ass whoopings left to handout. I feel like I’m just hitting my prime and just putting everything together. My body and my mind are finally on the same wavelength. And just turned 32 this week. We’ll see what happens, man. I don’t know. Only part I liked was the fight, this whole last two weeks. So I don’t know if that answers the question or draws more questions. But I didn’t enjoy the process these last two weeks. The only part I liked was fighting.
Speaker 18: (01:04:48)
Dustin, right here. There was a moment in the first round when you were trading shoulder strikes, talking to each other. Is that something you had worked on or did you just throw it back-
Dustin Poirier: (01:04:57)
I always talk trash to these guys. Ask any of my opponents. I’m always having fun in there and talking and stuff. No. I hit him with the shoulder strike. I forget what I told him. I said, “How about that clavicle?” Or something silly. Yeah, that was it. And then he hit me with a good knee and I told him that was a great shot. That was a good one.
Speaker 18: (01:05:16)
And then finally, just to clarify, you’re willing to just wait and see if they give you a title shot. See what else happens behind you for-
Dustin Poirier: (01:05:22)
I’m not waiting for nothing. I’m going home. Be with my family. I’m going back to being a dad. I’m going to sell hot sauce. I’m going to work with my foundation. I have so many things happening outside of fighting right now. This is just something I do.
Speaker 10: (01:05:33)
Dustin. Here, to your right. You said that you were talking to him. Was he talking back or was he staying quiet?
Dustin Poirier: (01:05:39)
He wasn’t really. I think he said something. When he landed a shoulder, he might’ve said something, but he wasn’t talking. Yeah. It wasn’t a whole lot of chatter going on. Just in that mix of shoulder strikes against the fence.
Speaker 10: (01:05:49)
You mentioned you didn’t enjoy the process of this. Is part of that due to the size of the fight, how much media you had to do and all the attention on you?
Dustin Poirier: (01:05:56)
I don’t know. I think part of it might be from fucking spinning my wheels for two weeks, sitting in a hotel room. You call this Fight Island, but man, this is Fight Hotel. We couldn’t leave the property. I’m sitting for two weeks cutting weight. The furthest I can go is to the workout room. I was in a prison of my own mind over here, man.
Speaker 10: (01:06:14)
You got to listen to the race cars though.
Dustin Poirier: (01:06:16)
It drove me fucking nuts yesterday. Yesterday was the worst day. And this is the day before the fight. I’m sitting there, I’m like, I’m about to jump off the balcony.
Speaker 10: (01:06:27)
You mentioned that a fight with Michael Chandler doesn’t really interest you at the moment. What does interest you? Would you rather just do a rematch with Conor? Would you like to look elsewhere? What does interest you?
Dustin Poirier: (01:06:35)
I mean, a rematch with Conor interests me. Always wanted to whip Nate Diaz’s ass. That interests me. In fighting, that’s about … I mean, I’m sure something will make sense. But just right now, I don’t know. Me and Conor are one and one. Nate Diaz got away and likes to talk a lot of shit online. But I just got to go back home, mostly.
Speaker 10: (01:07:06)
Do you think there is something to Conor’s thing about inactivity hurting him?
Dustin Poirier: (01:07:11)
Possible. Everybody’s different. I’ve seen guys that it not affect. Ring rust is real, if you allow it to be. I just assumed it wouldn’t be for Conor. That’s how I approached this fight because I thought he was in Portugal and he has a training camp going built around him. He’s putting in the work every day. So I think you would be sharp and your timing would be good. The real life timing of a fight, I feel like I get that in training camps. So I don’t think ring rust will be a thing for me unless it’s mental, like a mental worrying about performing again maybe. I don’t know. To each his own, I guess.
Speaker 10: (01:07:46)
And last thing for me. A lot was made of your durability at 155 versus 145. You took the shot at 145, it finished you. But tonight you took a few shots. Did any of them hurt you, phase you at all, or did you feel like you could take them quite comfortably?
Dustin Poirier: (01:07:59)
No, he hurt me. He hurt me with the left hand. Nothing went, but he flashed me good. And if he would’ve pressured and I would’ve got hit again, I think I would have been really hurt.
Speaker 19: (01:08:11)
Dustin, it’s very obvious that you won the hearts of the fan when you were going out victorious tonight. Talk us through that feeling. And how did it feel to hear all those chants for Conor while fighting? How did you get through that or overcome them while fighting?
Dustin Poirier: (01:08:26)
I fought one time last year and there was no fans. So it’s been a while since I got booed. It’s been a while since I walked out to boos. I walked back to the locker room with cheers though. I heard that. So I heard the boos on the entry and I heard the cheers on the exit. And that’s exactly what a lot of these MMA fans are. Fair-weather. So that’s why I don’t hold that stuff too close to me. It doesn’t mean anything.
Speaker 19: (01:08:50)
Dustin, down here. Obviously you come out to James Brown all the time. Pay the cost to be the boss. I mean, just from your reaction there-
Dustin Poirier: (01:08:58)
The hardest working man.
Speaker 19: (01:08:59)
Could it be any more fitting given the magnitude of this victory?
Dustin Poirier: (01:09:03)
Yeah. I was thinking about coming out to the big payback, but this isn’t payback. This isn’t about that. That’s not what this was to me. That’s not what this training camp was to me. This was about progress. This was about prosperity. This was about putting my family in the position we’re in now. It was a lot of things, but it wasn’t payback. That’s great. Now that the fights over and stuff like that, I’m glad I got him back. That’s cool. It makes for a great storyline and it feels good, but that wasn’t the driving force of this.
Speaker 19: (01:09:32)
And your career has had a lot of peaks and a lot of valleys. Where do you rank this win on your list of victories?
Dustin Poirier: (01:09:42)
It’s up there, especially finishing a guy who never been finished like that. It’s up there, man. Touching that UFC interim belt was so important to me and putting my hands on the undisputed world title before this is all said and done is what I want to absolutely do, man. But this is a big win.
Speaker 19: (01:10:07)
And I know you’re still taking in everything or whatever, but ideally, have you thought about when you’d like to come back? Because obviously you only fought once last year.
Dustin Poirier: (01:10:19)
I don’t know what’s next, honestly. I got to get home, speak to Dana, speak to the UFC. See what’s making sense. But I can guarantee I won’t be fighting Michael Chandler. They can do whatever they want with the division. I don’t really care. But if something happens that makes sense, then we’ll do it.
Speaker 19: (01:10:36)
Thank you, man.
Speaker 20: (01:10:37)
Dustin. Here. In front of you on your right. Here. Before the fight, Mike Brown, your coach, said that sometimes you are kind of an emotional fighter. And I would like to understand if it was hard for you during this fight with Conor, especially at the end of the first round, you’ve got some blows, but you got composure. But then at the second round, you kind of flipped the coin and got some speed and got the knockout. How was the process for you to deal with emotions inside the octagon with Conor?
Dustin Poirier: (01:11:15)
Tonight is one of the best I’ve ever felt, honestly. I was emotionless, I was an assassin, and I was here to execute. I was locked in, man. Locked and loaded. I felt nothing. I felt very focused. It was a great feeling. Like I said, I didn’t enjoy the warming up. I didn’t enjoy two weeks of sitting in a hotel room. But damn, when I let that dog out and I get in there and I perform, I can scrap, man. And I know I can. And it feels good. But there was no emotion.
Speaker 20: (01:11:49)
And you’re already talking about Chandler, that he doesn’t deserve-
Dustin Poirier: (01:11:53)
Yeah. That’s not even my position to be. I just been putting in the work. That’s why I’m sitting here feeling like I can talk about it, because I’ve been in the division and in the UFC for a long time, fighting the best of the best of the best. No disrespect to him. He seems like a good husband, a good father, speaks well, has a lot of respect, carries himself very well. Nothing but respect for him. It’s not a knock against him. It’s just my feelings towards the division and the sport. You know what I mean? I feel like I lost to Khabib. I came out and put on a fight of the year for you guys, got my hand raised against the top five opponent after that. Then I come in here and Khabib doesn’t want to come back, and I knock out one of the biggest fights you can get, I knock this guy out too. Could be reiterate. He doesn’t want to fight anymore. Dude, I’m the champ. I’m not going fight some, and like I said, respect to Chandler, fight a new guy to the UFC who just beat a guy who was coming off a loss that I just beat for the belt. That’s not exciting to me.
Speaker 20: (01:12:57)
And what would you say about Oliveira, which has-
Dustin Poirier: (01:13:02)
I think he has as more, because I’ve been watching that guy for 10 years in the UFC, two different weight classes. He’s fought the best of the best, over and over again. And he’s been knocked down and got up time and time again. He’s proven himself and he’s proven what mixed martial arts and perseverance and what believing in yourself is. I respect that. Not that I don’t respect Michael Chandler. I just think there’s more work for him to do, to come in here and beat a guy that I just beat.
Speaker 20: (01:13:33)
And last one for me. We are always talking about how different you are six years after the first fight. What would you say about the Conor? Did you saw any difference inside the octagon of the first Conor from this one?
Dustin Poirier: (01:13:55)
That first one was so long ago. Maybe that’s just my growth too. I felt his presence less, his aura less. I just saw another fighter tonight. I think the first time I was kind of a deer in the headlights, you can say. This time, I was just fighting another man, another man who bleeds just like me, and I knew that.
Speaker 21: (01:14:20)
Dustin, to your right. Congrats on a huge victory. The only other name in the lightweight equation is Justin Gaethje, who you already beat. Who do you think is more deserving of a title shot between Oliveira and Gaethje?
Dustin Poirier: (01:14:36)
Oliveira because he’s never had the opportunity. Gaethje just came out here and got beat, as I did. Not a knock on Gaethje, but he lost. I think Oliveira probably. Or let them fight to see who gets it. There are so many tough fighters in the 155 pound division.
Speaker 21: (01:15:02)
And lastly, what was the biggest difference you felt inside the octagon against Conor McGregor from 145 the first time to 155 this time?
Dustin Poirier: (01:15:12)
I just felt in the moment. I felt aware and I felt here. I was in the moment and ready to take advantage of any opportunity I can get. And it felt right tonight. When I walked into the octagon and the air hit me and the lights were on me and Bruce was introducing us it just felt right.
Speaker 15: (01:15:36)
Dustin. Over here to your left, Dustin. You mentioned the light kicks, the advice from Mike Brown on that. Do you think they were going to pay off in such a big way? Conor was in here saying that he has a football in his leg.
Dustin Poirier: (01:15:49)
I just know from experience how bad those things hurt. And I knew it was a five round fight so it would only get worse. It would only get worse. He started catching them and trying to counter me with his left hand towards the end, but I knew they were still landing. He was catching them after they were making contact. I knew they were still hurting him. And if he did catch it and take me down, then I was going to … It’s a five round fight. Of course you never want to give up a round, but I’d like to throw some submissions up and see what happens. I am a black belt in jujitsu. I’m very confident in my jujitsu. But I knew the leg kicks would be a problem because Jim Miller tore my leg up, and that was a three round fight. And I just know how painful it is.
Speaker 15: (01:16:28)
You didn’t jump for any [guillies 01:16:30] tonight.
Dustin Poirier: (01:16:30)
I promise you I would have if there was an opportunity. I wanted to rename this Guillotine Island. When I’m laying down at night, I was thinking, I’m going to guillotine this guy. I’m going to get his neck. This is going to be Guillotine Island.
Speaker 15: (01:16:45)
It seems you’re a little bit torn about your future. I mean, after this, you’re in the top 10 for most wins in UFC history, you have the most knockouts in lightweight history, just knocked out the biggest star in the history of the sport.
Dustin Poirier: (01:16:56)
If I would have done the bulk of my UFC career, I mean, what did I do? Seven, eight, nine fights at featherweight? I’d knocked some guys out there too. I would really be running off with the list at lightweight then.
Speaker 15: (01:17:06)
Is there almost a feeling of, you held that interim belt to you, like you’ve kind of done a lot or almost it all in a way?
Dustin Poirier: (01:17:13)
Me and my wife were just talking about this. I feel like I’ve done it all except, obviously, I can’t walk away and say that I’m the champ. I want to be the champ. When you’re the champ, you’re the champ forever. And I want to be the champ, man. But yeah, I’ve seen the highest of the highs, the lowest of the lows in this sport. And I’ve built a very beautiful life for me and my family. I’m very proud of the work that I’ve put in. And fighting is just something I do at this point in my career, like I just said, but I honor this. I don’t take this stuff lightly, man. I really respect the opportunity. And that’s why it’s so close to my heart and I think can help so many other young children, so many boys and girls, just troubled youth, with my foundation. They can fight their way out too. I did it. I’m just like them. I’m nothing special. If I can do it, anyone could do it. But I feel like if you introduce troubled kids to martial arts and to goals and just be a positive person around them, that it can change your life, man. This changed my life. And I just want to share that with people.
Speaker 15: (01:18:22)
You kind of took my next question a little bit there. I mean, I know there’s aspects of this that you don’t enjoy the most, but the fact that you got a $500,000 donation from Conor’s team, you’re going to raise a bunch of other money through your auctions and everything, does that make maybe the things you don’t like so much about it worth it?
Dustin Poirier: (01:18:39)
Yeah, because I know what I’m fighting for. And of course I’m fighting for me and my family. First and foremost, I got to take care of me and mine. But everything else that I can put on my back and carry with me, because I’m doing it regardless. I’m going in there and fighting for my life regardless. As many people that can benefit from me getting in there, I want to stack it up, stack the weight on my back and let me carry that in there with me. I want to give people a reason to cheer. I want to give people a reason to smile. That means a lot to me.
Speaker 15: (01:19:10)
Last thing. You just knocked out a guy who went multiple rounds with Floyd Mayweather. You’ve beaten Max Holloway twice, as you said, who people are calling the best boxer. Are you the best boxer now?
Dustin Poirier: (01:19:20)
I am. But that wasn’t a knock on Max Holloway. I mean, I guess it kind of was, but respect to Max. He looked incredible. He looked incredible. But I just saw Conor earlier this week when Max said that Conor said, “Well, after Saturday, we’ll see who’s the best boxer.” No, I believe in my boxing, man, very much.
Speaker 15: (01:19:38)
And you told me when we did an interview two months out from this fight, “Maybe I’ll be the guy fighting Manny Pacquiao after this.”
Dustin Poirier: (01:19:44)
Maybe so. I’ve actually been in talks with Justin Wren and Fight for the Forgotten. He’s actually in Lafayette, Louisiana right now. But I just tossed this in there because you said Manny Pacquiao. We bought 40 acres for the pygmy people after the Khabib fight. We built some water wells obviously; that was a big goal. But then we had enough rollover money, so we bought them 40 acres to build housing on. And I just heard that the Manny Pacquiao Foundation I think is going to start building the housing on The Good Fight Foundation’s land that we bought for them. So man, fighting in general combat sports is doing some huge things, man, and I’m very proud to be a part of any of that.
Speaker 15: (01:20:21)
Speaker 14: (01:20:22)
Dustin, can I ask you about … Sorry, over this way. I know it’s hard for you to see. Here we go. You talked about going in there with no emotion and being an assassin in there. Do you think part of Conor’s attitude change in those six years made any difference? You’ve been quite open about how mentally he tried to get under your skin the first time, but it’s been all totally different this time around.
Dustin Poirier: (01:20:46)
Yeah. I wasn’t sure that was a mental play as well. But I didn’t really pay a whole lot of mind to it. Maybe he’s just maturing and maybe he’s a father and maybe he just understands and respects the sport and the competitors. I don’t really know and I don’t really care. But every interaction I had with him fight week has been respectful. And I think because we both knew what we’re going to do, we’re both coming in here, I mean, we can shake hands and say good luck with whiskey and hot sauce sales and whatever not, and we know when that door closes, two men in and one man leaves the Thunderdome.
Speaker 14: (01:21:25)
And you were just talking about your great foundation. Can you give us some kind of insight into your plans with these donations and the great things that are going to come from this fight for it?
Dustin Poirier: (01:21:34)
Yeah. I have a big goal right now that we’re crowdfunding for The Boys and Girls Club of Acadiana and their six locations. We’re trying to help them with their Project Learn initiative. The pandemic has been tough on children as well, especially children from single parents. And there’s just so much to speak about, about this. But I’ll just say that we’re teaming up with The Boys and Girls Club to provide transportation and tutoring for the year of 2021, so the rest of this year. Transportation to and from six clubs and tutoring for the children as well who are learning from a distance.
Speaker 14: (01:22:12)
Dustin Poirier: (01:22:13)
Thank you so much.
Dustin Poirier: (01:22:19)
Thank you, guys.