Jan 22, 2021

UFC 257 Pre-Fight Press Conference Transcript: Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier

UFC 257 Pre fight Press Conference
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The UFC held a January 21 pre-fight press conference for UFC 257 with Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and more fighters. Read the full transcript here.

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Dana White: (01:50)
What’s up Abu Dhabi, how are you guys? Thanks for coming out today, we appreciate it. Who’s got the first question?

Audience Member 1: (01:59)
Conor, I’d like to start with you. Welcome back, of course, first things first. I mean, this entire pandemic. I think we’ve wondered. What would a Conor McGregor fight be like with no crowd, and now it’s limited crowd. So now that you’re kind of in the building, you’re getting a sense for what the atmosphere is like. And we think about you, the bright lights are on the big crowds. That’s when you perform, how does that affect your energy, your focus on fight night?

Conor McGregor: (02:20)
I tell you what it feels pretty good right now. You know the crowd here. I know it’s a small crowd, but it feels good, so I’m very happy to be here.

Audience Member 1: (02:31)
Fair enough. But of course, as you said, this is a big fight, you know, pay-per-view headliner, but it’s interesting. I mean, you have a victory over Dustin. There may be the title fight on the line, maybe there’s not, we don’t really know. So what provided kind of your daily motivation? I mean, you know, that extra practice, that extra grind that you might not want to go to. What, was providing that for you?

Conor McGregor: (02:48)
My love for the game, my love for competition, my love for combat, and, you know, Dustin has put on an incredible run since our last fight. It’s been a long time coming. Yes, I did get a over him the first time, but you know, he’s rose right up and he’s back up there at the top of the division. So I’m excited to go on and compete with him again.

Audience Member 1: (03:07)
Fair enough. And you went out there and kind of made a pretty bold prediction. You said you think you can get it done in 60 seconds. You know, I know you have a lot of respect for him. But I wonder, that puts a lot of pressure on you, right? I mean, you win in the second round or you got shot decision. Maybe it was a letdown. So any regrets in making that prediction, do you stand by it?

Conor McGregor: (03:23)
You know, well, I got him out of there in 90 seconds the first time. So I mean, I’m not that far off, but you know, I just started complete confidence in my preparation and in my abilities, I know Dustin’s a hell of a competitor. I know there’s questions here. He’s heavier and he’s up on it. He’s up on a different weight, but he’s more experienced. I feel I can do it. However, you know, there are question marks regarding conditioning and things like that. I know his team has been spouting about the condition and on that I have put in a lot of work to get myself correctly to the 155 pound frame. I got 40 seconds inside the octagon in 2020, which caused major frustration in my, you know, it’s not enough. I need more. So I’m going to go in there and I believe, I believe I can get him out there and possibly we’ll hit him early and hurt him. But, you know, I, I hope for, for a good long, a good long bell.

Audience Member 1: (04:15)
Last thing for me, Conor, I mean, it’s kind of a, I think probably no coincidence in the timing, but you were named in a lawsuit this week. I just wonder if you have any comments on that and if that’s affecting your focus and I think that’s a lot on your shoulders ahead of a big fight like this,

Conor McGregor: (04:28)
You know, it’s all news. It’s been, it was investigated totally over the course of two long years and I was cleared of any wrongdoing and, and that’s it, you know, so much positivity in my life. I’ve got a great challenge ahead of me on Saturday, on Saturday night. And I’m very excited to get in. I put in an immense amount of work to get my frame correct at 155 to get my conditioning. You know, I want to answer questions here and I hope, I hope, I hope those things can bring it to me and we can, we can have a good fight.

Audience Member 1: (05:00)
Thank you, Conor. For Dustin, I wanted to ask you, I mean, you fought this year in the apex put on a fight of the year type candidate, right? Does that provide any, any benefit? I mean, this atmosphere is unique. It’s different, right? I mean, does that give you any kind of an edge once you go in there or is an octagon, an octagon?

Dustin Poirier: (05:17)
An octagon is an octagon. It’s good. It’s actually good to see us moving in this direction and fans coming back as well as the direction. We need to be opening things up as safe as we can in the UFC and Abu Dhabi here are doing that. So I’m excited to put on a show for these guys

Audience Member 1: (05:30)
Yeah.

Audience Member 1: (05:32)
And Dustin, I know that you’ve , you know, committed your life to this game, right? Sacrifice everything. You never had a a hundred million dollar boxing match. You know what I mean? You know, you don’t have a whiskey brand, this distributed around the world. I know you like the saying 25 minutes to make life fair. Does that apply? I mean, do you feel like there’s a chip on your shoulder? I mean, you guys have had this kind of parallel life, but it’s gone different. You walk in there a little chip on your shoulder?

Dustin Poirier: (05:51)
Every fight is a chip on my shoulder. I’m trying to prove something. I’m trying to show the work that I’ve put in. I’m trying to make it pay off. I’m trying to put my family in a better position and this is no different. I know what a win over Conor McGregor means in combat sports. And I know that whoever wins this fight is fighting for gold. And that’s why I fight.

Audience Member 1: (06:08)
Fair enough. Thank you, Dustin. Just one last one for Dana. Please, Dana obviously this is a massive Pay-Per-View.

Conor McGregor: (06:12)
Can I, sorry you’ve got the hot sauce, Dustin. I’m actually very, I want to, I’d love to taste the hot sauce.

Dustin Poirier: (06:18)
I’ve got a bottle for you.

Conor McGregor: (06:18)
I appreciate that. I’ve got a bottle of Proper for you. I love to share that. That’s so, you know what I mean? He’s putting in the work. I’ve been highly impressed. I think the whole business has been highly impressed. After that last many, many years ago, he rose up became champion. He’s given so much back. I’m honored to share this octagon with this man. I know we have this competitive fire and it’s still there. There’s still that, you know, there is no denying that we, we have a clash and it’s going to be a good firework field bell. And, but the respect is admirable for this man from me.

Dustin Poirier: (06:50)
I don’t want to make it seem like we’re up here giving each other back massages, but Conor’s, I just want to clear the air, Conor’s team, McGregor sports entertainment, did reach out to my foundation and they are, you know, starting the donation to the good fight foundation. And we have huge, huge plans for that. So Connor, man to man.

Conor McGregor: (07:06)
My Pleasure, buddy, my pleasure.Thank you.

Dustin Poirier: (07:07)
You’re going to help a lot of people with that.

Conor McGregor: (07:07)
Yes, yes and you, you.

Audience Member 1: (07:07)
Maybe you can help them with a distribution deal for the hot sauce.

Conor McGregor: (07:12)
Of course, of course. No problem. I got to taste it first though. You know, I don’t put my name to something unless it’s the proper, you know what I mean? Unless it’s the finest.

Dustin Poirier: (07:21)
I got you. You’ll taste it Sunday morning, then I’ll give you a bottle after. Yeah?

Conor McGregor: (07:25)
That’s perfect.

Audience Member 1: (07:28)
Dana, I just want to ask you, like I said to me, this is a huge pay-per-view event to kick off the year. You kind of stirred the pot a little bit with the, the piracy, the online streamers. They want to come after you and give this thing away. So, any regret? Any regret?

Dana White: (07:40)
No, no, no, no, no. I’m glad you asked me about that because we got one. We got him, we’re watching this guy right now. All you have to do is turn it on on Saturday and we got you, fucker. I can’t wait. Turn it on on Saturday, streamers, and see what happens. Thank you for asking me that question. Pipe down. Who’s next?

Audience Member 2: (08:12)
A question for Michael over here. Welcome to the UFC, this is your first real big press conference in your new home. I don’t think anyone for years thought you would be here. So what are your first impressions of the UFC fans now at this press conference?

Michael Chandler: (08:25)
Ah, this is great, man. Thank you. I appreciate it. It’s awesome to be kind of a historic night, 10 months of not having any fans during a worldwide pandemic. It’s nice to share this opportunity with the fans, man. It’s been a, it’s been a long time coming and there was, there was moments where I wasn’t sure if I would ever make that jump cut to come over. The circumstances needed to be right. It needed to feel right. A couple months ago, having that conversation with Dana, it felt this is where my new home needed to be and everything has been wonderful thus far and I’m excited to go out there and start this new chapter, got a blank page, on Friday, on Saturday night to start this new chapter in my career. And I’m excited to get out there and compete.

Audience Member 2: (09:07)
And I know you’re not looking past Dan, but you had said in the media day, you were looking forward to at least sizing up Connor being around him, seeing what he’s about. So have you seen him in the hotel and if you haven’t, what do you think now?

Michael Chandler: (09:18)
No, I have not. No, this is just the first time I saw him, man. He’s a, he’s looking dapper as always Conor McGregor, typical Connor fashion, but you know, this is, I’ve been outside of the UFC and I told Dana this in our conversation every single time that I trained for one of the guys that I stepped inside of the cage with, I wasn’t training to fight them, I was training to fight the number one guy in the world. The number one guy in the world has always been under the UFC banner. I was always training to fight, to beat that guy. So sizing everybody up, you know, last time I was here on Fight Island saw Khabib saw Gaethje, these are, these are the, these are the, the upper echelon, the world-class guys that I’ve wanted to compete against since day one. And now I get that opportunity. Just got to go out there and take care of business on Saturday night.

Michael Chandler: (10:02)
That opportunity, just got to go out there and take care of business on Saturday night.

Audience Member 2: (10:03)
And question for Dan. A lot to make with Michael’s wrestling credentials, you of course have a very extensial striking background. So what do you make of Michael Chandler’s striking inside the octagon?

Dan Hooker: (10:15)
He’s aggressive. The guy comes out and he’s a fast starter, so I’m expecting by the end of that first five minutes. We’re going to know how this thing’s going to play out. I’m expecting him to come at me. I’m expecting a fast start, but I’m not one to back down to a challenge.

Audience Member 2: (10:33)
And then question for Conor, Max Holloway declared himself the best boxer in MMA. You kind of laughed at that on Twitter. So I’m wondering, how would you rate the three gentlemen up here boxing compared to yours?

Conor McGregor: (10:44)
I’ll tell you what, the last press conference I’d done with [Toronie 00:10:49] it was just myself and Dona up here. This time we’ve got three other men, four of us and we’re all in the same division. So there are opponents, potential future opponents and I’m very excited about that. That’s kind of what halted me in 2020, before the pandemic even hit, it was like nothing really presented itself. Well, here, we’ve got three up here. We’ve got Max skateboarding in the hallway, back at the hotel, so I’m very happy with that. I’m very excited to see how the bout goes in the coming event. I know the two men know the magnitude of where they are at and I’m excited, that’s going to breathe an exciting fight. You know what I mean? It’s going to be a lot of power thrown I hope. I would tell the two lads, if there is any stalling or any situation like that, to be separating and let the shots fly because there’s a lot at stake here. And I wish both men, the best of luck.

Audience Member 2: (11:45)
And then question for all four gentlemen up there, a unique situation four dads fighting on Saturday in the main up coming event. So are your kids aware of what’s going down on Saturday? Are you going to let them watch? I know Conor has Conor Jr and his kids here, but are you going to let your kids watch on Saturday night?

Conor McGregor: (12:03)
Sorry, say that again, was that to me?

Audience Member 2: (12:05)
It’s for all four. Are all four gentleman’s kids going to watch the fight on Saturday?

Conor McGregor: (12:09)
My kids will watch them, after having them [inaudible 00:12:12] for a week and giving them the experience, they are a little young though. I don’t think I’ll have them in the arena for the actual bout, but there’ll be watching their daddy for sure. And I look forward to going back after the fight.

Michael Chandler: (12:25)
I know my son will be sleeping, but he knows daddy does MMA. He knows what MMA is and we’ll go watch the masterpiece after the fight when I get home and get to spend time with him.

Dustin Poirier: (12:36)
And my daughter knows what I do obviously, but we don’t really let her watch. She helps me take the stitches out when I get back, she knows What’s going on.

Dan Hooker: (12:46)
Yeah. My daughter will be swinging along with me. She’ll be there.

Dana White: (12:54)
Whose got the next question.

Audience Member 2: (12:55)
One more for you, Dana right here. Habib did an interview yesterday saying, “He still doesn’t want to make his mom upset by returning.” Have you seen that interview and have you spoken to him again since your initial conversation?

Dana White: (13:06)
I told you guys, we’ll see what happens this week.

Conor McGregor: (13:10)
We’ll get him. We’ll get him.

Speaker 1: (13:17)
Hey, Conor, out of the available lightweights to you right now is Dustin the hardest challenge you could be facing?

Conor McGregor: (13:25)
I think so, yeah. You know what, I’ll always go. I’ll always look to get the highest challenge. Dustin here has a win over Hooker, who is on stage here. He has a win, he knocked out Justin. So there’s some high contenders already. And Justin and Tony knocked out Tony, who was another contender. So I think I’m right at the top here. I would make the case, if that man is continuing to dodge this and dodge the commitment of competing again, the title should be stripped and we should be engaging in a title fight. But I’m sure it will happen after this bout. I’m interested to hear what the excuses are, what will be said after the fight. But I predict a title strip.

Speaker 1: (14:08)
Going off prediction. You said, “It’s going to take 60 seconds to beat Dustin.” It might go longer. But do you have the shot in mind already that you want to finish in with? Or is that something that presents itself in the fight?

Conor McGregor: (14:18)
I have a million shots. I’ve so many weapons in my arsenal and they’re all fine tuned at this time. I’m in a phenomenal place. And I look forward to getting out and showcasing, painting my picture and putting on a beautiful performance for the fans around the world.

Speaker 1: (14:33)
And for you Michael, we know your story that you’ve just come into the UFC, but now you’re up there on a press conference stage. Has it set in yet that you’re making a UFC debut?

Michael Chandler: (14:44)
Yeah, it has. I think the day that I signed on the dotted line, it started to sink in. I mean, I’ve been competing at a high level since I was 14 years old and all roads have led to this. There seemed like there have been roadblocks at times, but daily, I have thought about it. I visualize it. I’ve seen it. I’ve I’ve been watching these guys compete for a long time and I’ve wanted to share the octagon with them so it’s… The last trip here to fight island, a lot of people thought it was kind of an interesting decision. I wanted to be the guy that said yes, when a lot of guys said no. So I stepped up, I said, yes.

Michael Chandler: (15:17)
And I reaped a lot of reward from that. Now all the familiar faces that I’m going to be rubbing elbows with, coworkers in my tenure here in the UFC. Now they’re all familiar faces and it’s all going well, thus far. Weight’s on point and here we are getting ready to step into… Not just stepping in the octagon, but stepping into a co-main event slot on a huge pay-per-view, a historic night. As these guys have said, this is a big, big opportunity for all of us. And we’re going to go out there and we’re going to go put on a great show.

Audience Member 2: (15:52)
And for Dustin, there is an element of charity to this fight. You just mentioned that with the donation to your foundation, how important do you believe it is that a fighter at the top tier pays it back and pays it forward and uses their platform to help others who don’t have one?

Dustin Poirier: (16:08)
I believe it’s important for a man, as he matures to recognize the situation and position he’s in and that he put himself in. And I just… To each his own, I’m not saying everybody should do it, but if you have it in your heart and you’re in position to be a voice for people whose voices aren’t heard or to be a representative of something better. It transcends fighting and we’re all fighting something. So it means a lot to me personally, I can’t speak for anyone else.

Audience Member 2: (16:35)
And for Dan, do you believe your style is the worst matchup Chandler could be facing on his debut?

Dan Hooker: (16:44)
It’s not a good style, I bet if he could have picked anyone else it wouldn’t have been me, a long, tall guy. My games’ built around defending wrestlers. The only reason I’m here is because [inaudible 00:06:55], he turned the fight down. They didn’t want to take the risk. They don’t want to risk their spot, they come up with a bunch of excuses, old Charlie olives saying, “He can’t make the weight.” Danny, do you believe Charlie olives can’t make the weight. I go, “A broomsticks’ thicker than that boy.” I’m here, I’m taking the risk. That means that I reaped the reward.

Audience Member 2: (17:17)
Nice. And last one for Dana. Do we have an update on numbers for this card? You’ve got the return of Conor McGregor, we’ve got some fans back, but pay-per-view wise, how is this thing trending?

Dana White: (17:26)
Very good, yeah. No. This thing’s trending great. Yeah, it’s good. It’s going to be good. There hasn’t been… When was there a bad one? Since the pandemic started, there hasn’t been a bad pay-per-view they’ve all been over-performing, so you can only imagine what this is going to do.

Audience Member 2: (17:42)
Okay.

Speaker 2: (17:44)
Hey, just a quick one from me as the unofficial lightweight tournament commissioner, I just wanted to get available confirmation you guys, because listen, Charles Oliveira with the victory only over Tony Ferguson, he’s pretty much through to the semifinals. Now we’ve got Justin, you’ve probably just come into the mix, but of course it’s about you guys. The semifinal spots at stake, even if one or two, you come out of this weekend and fight for the title. I think most media fans, we want to crown a new undisputed lightweight champion by the end of the year. And I just want to get a quick confirmation-

Conor McGregor: (18:18)
Book it, put me in. Book it, I’m in.

Speaker 2: (18:19)
Yes. Michael, are you in?

Michael Chandler: (18:22)
Book it.

Speaker 2: (18:22)
Dan? Dustin?

Dustin Poirier: (18:26)
Let’s go.

Speaker 2: (18:26)
Dan?

Dan Hooker: (18:27)
I didn’t even understand the question. Yeah, I’m in.

Speaker 2: (18:31)
Thank you, Dana. You’re welcome.

Dana White: (18:35)
All right.

Speaker 3: (18:36)
Hey Conor, you looked like you had something, you were about to say there when Dana was talking about the pay-per-view numbers. Why don’t you [crosstalk 00:08:40].

Conor McGregor: (18:41)
Yeah. It just goes without saying. You don’t go and come up and talk about EA Sports, UFC Selections and all this type of thing, when it comes to me. All the pay-per-views are treading. The Embedded has been record breaking again, it’s almost double. The first episode of the Embedded has almost double all of the other Embeddeds that came out in 2020 by one, McGregor Serone. So it’s trending in the right direction. I’m very excited about it. I’m very excited to get these guys on the platform here, you know what I mean? And like I said, and I’m happy to hear Chandler say this and Hooker say this, “Take your chances and reap the rewards here.” So that’s it, there’s going to be two cracker fights and I’m ready. And as the guy from BT said about the tournament, book it, we’re in and that’s amazing. Let’s go.

Audience Member 2: (19:27)
One more for you, Conor. I know you kind of said at the beginning, the narrative about your conditioning and everything going into this fight. Can you just expand on that? And why do you think there are those doubts about your cardio?

Conor McGregor: (19:37)
You know what, I think it’s a myth. Obviously I had the Diaz one, the first Diaz fight I went from feather weight and then a month or so later I was at welterweight, that’s obviously going to have impact and then there was other issues, but I think overall it’s a myth and it’s a myth that’s… It’s out there and that’s it. I hope we can answer it. And I will answer it in time. At some stage, I keep showing up here, someone’s going to be able to stay in the pocket with me and stay in there and fight with me. And I hope it’s this-

Conor McGregor: (20:02)
… go with me and stay in there and fight with me, and I hope it’s this Saturday night. Do I think so? I do not. I’m in some shape here at the minute and I’ll tell you this now, I am coming to put on a masterpiece. I’m excited about it.

Speaker 4: (20:17)
And just one for you, Dustin. I know you said prior to the fight with Dan there that you didn’t really like that there was a certain expectation that you would win going in, and you relish being, not underdog more. Can you just speak a little bit more to that? And do you feel at your most comfortable going into a fight like this?

Dustin Poirier: (20:31)
I’m not sure if I relish it, but of course I want to be cheered when I walk out. But I’m well acquainted with it and I know the feelings, and I’ve been in this position time and time again. That’s just it, I’m just acquainted with it.

Speaker 5: (20:49)
Hey. Question for Conor. How are you doing? I’ve enjoyed listening to you talk about getting the frame right for 155. And it struck me, it’s kind of crazy that you’ve only competed there twice. You’ve been in the UFC for, what, seven years? You’ve only competed at 155 pounds twice. Is that your ideal weight class, do you think? Do you think that’s where you operate at the highest level?

Conor McGregor: (21:09)
I’ve done pretty good in all the other ones as well. I’ve done good in them all. I’ve knocked secured belts in multiple divisions and I’ve secured knockout victories in multiple divisions. And I do feel great at this weight, but whatever I commit to I feel great at. When I do the welterweight belts, I feel great. I feel strong and big. I still feel this now. You know what I mean? I feel fast, also. So I’m excited to get in and showcase it. And like you said, I have not had that much fights at 155 pounds in the UFC, and I’m eager to put in a stint, to get a run going like I done with the featherweights. I think I went seven or eight fights within the space of a year and a half. That’s what I’m looking for here if they can match me up.

Conor McGregor: (21:51)
I know now we’ve got multiple opponents up on the dais already, so we’re in a good spot. And I’m eager to get going and showcase. I feel this is the best I have ever been for sure, and I’m at 155 pounds. but if I go back to 170 pounds, you best believe that’ll be the best yet also. So it is what it is.

Speaker 5: (22:11)
Yeah. And one Tweet that you… I don’t know exactly when you put it up but you said that after you won the 155 pound belt you wondered, maybe you should’ve jumped up and gone for that 170 pound belt right away. And I just wonder… Obviously things have worked out well for you. The Mayweather fight made you a whole lot of money, but have there ever been… Do you think about that sometimes? “What would have happened had I not left the sport?”

Conor McGregor: (22:30)
Yeah. Sometimes I think, “Man, I should’ve just stayed in the featherweight division and fought Ricardo Lamas and all those type of guys and I’ve just been in the featherweight division.” I always look to challenge myself and seek greater heights. And although I’ve been the champion at 155 pounds. I have not had much time at this weight in the UFC, and this is what I wish to do now.

Speaker 5: (22:57)
Last thing for you: I wouldn’t say the security team was necessarily concerned about it but they were very aware that you were going to be in the hotel this week at the same time as Khabib. And I was just wondering if that is still a warranted concern or have you guys past that part of your relationship that you could be in the lobby of a hotel and we wouldn’t have to worry about anything happening between you guys?

Conor McGregor: (23:18)
All of those events were 2018. It’s now 2021. What I will say is as long as we fight again, there’ll be no issue. And that’s it. If he continues to run, well then I’m not sure. We’ll see what happens.

Speaker 5: (23:37)
I’ve got one for you, Michael. Obviously you’ve been asked a lot about being in the new promotion and what it feels like to be in the UFC. I wonder what it feels like to be on the stage with these three gentlemen. And is this a different caliber of opposition that you’ve been in contact with throughout your career? Is there truth to that or do you feel like throughout your career, you have been amongst guys who are of the same skill level as these guys?

Michael Chandler: (23:58)
Overall, this is the toughest competition that I will ever face in my entire life. But I think when you look at my resume, when you look at my track record, guys like Eddie Alvarez, guys, like Benson Henderson, these are champions that were here in the UFC. Granted it was a couple of years later, but I’ve been competing at a high level since I was 14 years old, as I said. So I’ve been dreaming of this day or visualizing this day just in case it ever did come, and now I’m fully prepared to take the opportunity head on. And absolutely, all these guys are the best in the world. And the UFC lightweight division is the most hyped, most electrified, most energetic division in the UFC today. And it was a perfect time to insert my name into the mix.

Speaker 5: (24:42)
Thanks guys.

Speaker 7: (24:45)
Hey. This question is for The Diamond, Dustin Poirier. You fought in this country before to unify the lightweight strap against Khabib Nurmagomedov it off. Is this stage greater for you than UFC 242?

Dustin Poirier: (24:59)
It’s obviously a huge fight, but fighting for the world title is the biggest fight you can get, to me, because that’s the reason I fight. I want to be an undefeated world champion. I’m still chasing that goal, and I know this fight here gets me one step closer to that.

Speaker 7: (25:14)
It’s questions for the Notorious Conor McGregor. What separates the fighter Conor McGregor from the business mogul Conor McGregor?

Speaker 8: (25:23)
[inaudible 00:25:23] Conor McGregor.

Conor McGregor: (25:27)
I bring all of the discipline and the drive that I learned in my martial arts training and preparation and competition into the business world, and it’s helped me tremendously. It’s why I always would urge any parents around the world to get their children into mental martial arts. Any type of combat sport. And it’s not necessarily to compete. If they wish to compete, well then they can compete. But the things that they learn through martial arts, you cannot learn it anywhere else and it will translate many other things, especially the business world. So it’s pretty much the same. Two of the same.

Speaker 7: (26:03)
And lastly, for Michael, you sized up all of these lightweights. Now, the last one here is Conor McGregor. You’ve rubbed elbows with all of them. What do you make of this guy sitting next to you?

Michael Chandler: (26:13)
Hey, he is exactly who we think he is. He is exactly who he thinks he is. He’s got a track record. He’s a global superstar for a reason. But all of that doesn’t matter when you step inside that octagon, when the cage door closes. We all know that. He knows that. But as far as the man, as far as what he’s accomplished, as far as, just as you alluded to, outside of the cage, what he’s done. What he’s done eyeball-wise, attention-wise for this division, for this promotion, it’s nothing short of amazing. And it’s awesome to share this opportunity, share the stage with these guys. And as you can see, I think there’s a lot of growth up here.

Michael Chandler: (26:54)
I think we’ve seen a lot of growth in Conor. One of the baddest men on the planet and now one of the most daddest men on the planet. All of us, as you alluded to, we’re all dads. We all started coming up hungry, humble. And now we’re dads and really fighting for a different purpose. So you see that in him, you see that in Dustin, you see that in Hooker, and you see that in myself. So man, either way, Saturday night we’re all going to go out there, put on a great show. Everybody by that pay-per-view. Let’s go.

Conor McGregor: (27:22)
Appreciate that, brother. Thank you.

Speaker 9: (27:27)
Conor, how are you doing mate?

Conor McGregor: (27:33)
Yeah.

Speaker 9: (27:33)
You’ve evolved so much in your fighting career, but I think you’ve always been an artist inside and outside the cage with your fighting style and your ability to sum up things in such a poetic manner. But can you just talk to me a little bit about how you define yourself as an artist?

Conor McGregor: (27:51)
I’m just an insanely driven young man. You know what I mean? I’m passionate about what I’m passionate about and I give it my all. That’s it. I’m a hard worker, through and through. If something needs to be done, Conor McGregor gets it done. Make no mistake about it.

Speaker 9: (28:09)
That’s awesome. Staying on the topic of art, I wanted to read you a quote from 2013 that you said. It’s really poignant and I think it deserves to be read out in full, so just bear with me. “I’ve lost my mind on this game, like Vincent van Gogh. Dedicated his life to his art and he lost his mind in the process. That’s happened to me, but fuck it. When that gold belt is around my waist and my mother has a big mansion, my girlfriend has a car for every day of the week, and my kids kids get everything they ever wanted, then it will pay. Then I’ll be happy I lost my mind. Can you just reflect and talk to me about how that makes you feel, hearing that in 2021?

Conor McGregor: (28:53)
Yeah, it’s been some ride. I’ve got it done and I’m up here mad as a brush. I’ve been through what all, my friend. I appreciate that. And it’s been a wild ride for me. It’s not been easy at times, but what a life. And I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. I’m very excited to be back here. I’m very excited to have fans back in the area. I’m very excited about the competition, the multiple competition. I just feel invigorated. And as you said about artistry and all, and Vinny van Gogh. I’m going to paint a beautiful picture here inside this octagon on Saturday night, and I’m very excited to do so.

Speaker 9: (29:36)
Awesome. Thank you so much, man.

Speaker 6: (29:37)
Go ahead, brother.

Interviewer 1: (29:44)
Yeah. It’s [inaudible 00:29:48] from Abu Dhabi Sports. The amazing thing about this sport is we’ve seen the fighters grow in front of us. And like Connor McGregor and Dustin, they’re different fighters since they started over here. We know the motivation behind Dustin’s…

Interviewer 1: (30:03)
We know the motivation behind Dustin’s fight against Conor McGregor is to beat Conor McGregor and to become the champion within one year. But you, Conor McGregor, you fought Jose Aldo, and you elevated the standard and then you fought Eddie Alvarez and you became the double champ, and you’re just elevating standards each time. So, beating Donald Cerrone last year, and now you’re fighting with Dustin Poirier; what’s your motive? After this? After seven, eight years of competing in the UFC?

Conor McGregor: (30:40)
I feel like I’m only starting, man. Everyone kind of wants to, “Hey, Conor, you’ve done it all. You’re so rich. Richer than Dane, over here. What are you doing here?” I’m like, I’m allowed here, I want to be here, I want to perform for the fans. I’m a young man, I’ve got many highlights, all the money, all the belts, everything that comes in and that goes, what lives on are highlights: are fighters highlights. You look at Roy Jones Jr’s highlights, Mike Tyson’s highlights… I still look at them today… Ali’s highlights. I want my highlight reel to be like a movie. You know what I mean? So that’s what I’m after, I’m looking to get in and perform and put on amazing highlights that I can sit as an old man with my son and just watch back and enjoy life.

Conor McGregor: (31:23)
You know what? I’ll be drinking, I know he’s proud as well, we’ll be by the fire in the Emerald Isle of Ireland. And this is it, man I’m just loving my life. Please don’t be trying to get rid of me guys, I love it here. I helped build this, I helped do this, I’m here, and I love it. I have plenty of motivation, do you know what I mean? Dustin’s a hell of a competitor. What does the champ-champ do? He does it twice. “Okay, I conquered it. Lets conquer again”. You know what I mean? They were twice, that’s what the champ-champ does.

Interviewer 2: (31:58)
Conor, question down here. Talk to me about how your training camp went in Portugal. I know it was kind of secluded due to the lockdown. You’ve had secluded camps in the past, do you think this is something that you want to continue with going forward?

Conor McGregor: (32:11)
Yeah, I’ll tell you what. It’s been a phenomenal camp all across the board. We were in Lagos in Portugal, we were in Dublin, we were in Dubai, and now we finish it up here. Yeah it was an amazing camp. I have an amazing team of people around me, all across the board, from the nutritionist, from my coaches in mixed martial arts, in jujitsu, in boxing, in wrestling, and all my sparring partners… It’s a phenomenal team I have… as well as my conditioning coaches. I’m looking forward to going in and represent them all my team’s hard work. You know what I mean? We put a lot of hard work in here and I’m going to go in and do my team proud.

Interviewer 2: (32:46)
Thank you. Looking forward to it.

Dana White: (32:55)
Who else? Yep, go ahead.

Interviewer 3: (32:58)
Dustin, everyone is talking about how much you’ve changed as a fighter since the last time you fought Conor, what would you say is the main thing that changed in your game and that would make a difference this Saturday, whether mentally or physically?

Dustin Poirier: (33:10)
Yeah, I think technically as well, mentally for sure, technically as well. I mean six years since we fought, you have to evolve to stay at the top of the division for this long to stay in the company for this long and it’s just maturity. I don’t care what anybody out here thinks anymore, I used to care too much. I just, I don’t care. That’s a superpower- not giving a fuck and that’s it.

Interviewer 3: (33:39)
And Conor, this one is for you. I know you’ve been asked a lot about this whole Khabib thing, but I’m just curious to know: he said he’s looking for something amazing, extra ordinary, this Saturday for him to change his mind and come back. What do you think he’s looking for this Saturday for him to change his mind?

Conor McGregor: (33:55)
You know, I don’t really care. I did not say that, Dana said that. Let’s just get to the fight. All these men are up here, there are plenty of challenges, it’s a tough business and things have gone on in his personal life. I don’t wish him any harm. Like I said, it was in 2018, a lot of time has passed. The world knows this fight is not over. This war is not over. The sport needs it to happen, the people need it to happen, I’m not going to chase it if he doesn’t want it. And that’s it. I’ll keep my calm and move on. And that’s what I’m doing, I’m back here at the 155 pound division, I’ll show the world what’s what over time and that’s it. It begins on Saturday night against Dustin Poirier.

Interviewer 3: (34:40)
Finally, my last question. I heard Dustin say that he actually kind of enjoyed the fights during this past year without a crowd because he felt it was a bit more intimate and he was more focused. I’d like to know, does having or not having a crowd affect you in any way when you’re inside that octagon or not really?

Conor McGregor: (34:58)
Yeah, no, a fight is a fight for sure when you’re inside that octagon. I was actually very, very excited to compete with no crowd, at the start I was like, “Oh, I don’t know” but over time then I really wanted to see and hear my power, and my velocity, and my precision. I wanted to hear my shots whistle through the air with no background noise and, and really put a statement out there of the difference. I almost got to do it, but there’s not that many fans, only a couple of thousand; my power, my speed, my precision, my velocity, my whistle will still whistle strong on the night. And I’m excited to show.

Interviewer 3: (35:43)
Thank you.

Dana White: (35:45)
Thank you guys, we appreciate it. We’re going to square these guys off for photo ops and we will see you tomorrow.

Conor McGregor: (35:51)
Thank you guys, thank you.