EXCLUSIVE Conor McGregor: The haters pay their money in the hope of seeing me face down in a pool of my own blood
It is no secret that I am obsessed with this business.
Obsessed with every aspect of the fight game. Of Martial Arts philosophy mixed in with the cruel and ruthless game of pure, unrestricted fighting. It's a conflict of two worlds. But it is my life. I am humble to those who know me. I am arrogant to those who doubt me. And I am ruthless to those who fight me.
There is no act. This is who I am.
Other people’s assessments don’t matter, what they think of me, whether they dislike me or are waiting for me to fail is insignificant. It cannot penetrate the armour of my self-belief.
Before my first fight in UFC, I was told I wasn’t up to it and had not fought UFC calibre. Before me no Irish man had excelled in this business. In true fighting, we weren't even on the map. The fight was over within a minute.
Each fight I hear that my biggest test has arrived, that this is the day I’m going to get found out. Each time I win, I pulverise my opponent. It will be the same on July 11. Blank face, new body. I know who I am.
I can do things that nobody has ever done before. I am different. I am pound for pound the best fighter on the planet. And I will prove it in two months’ time when I become champion of the world for the third time. This story is only just beginning. And it is going to run and run.
I am obsessed.
I hear people say I am over-confident, cocky, arrogant, all talk. They know nothing. I see a lot of fake humility in this business. They are the phonies. I make my money in a dangerous, brutal game. The object is to inflict damage, take the other guy out. Each fighter is carrying some serious weapons. You can’t face that down without feeling bullet-proof.
The people who act a certain way for the approval of people they do not even know. For the approval of society. They are the fakes. I say what I am here for. I say what I am going to do to get it. Then I go out and get it. I have done the work. I show up and I succeed.
I am not scared. I am human.
Anybody who is competing under the spotlight becomes anxious. I like to recognise the feeling as normal. Normal human emotion. The same as my opponent. The same as any human feels at times of competition. Everyone is scared, everyone is anxious. We all feel the same way. How could I let another scared man across the dressing room make me scared? I embrace that feeling as normal. Familiar human emotion. Familiar human reaction in times of combat. I rely on my training, my work-ethic, my movement to see me through. It gives me clarity. And it enables me to have fun.
If there is no fun in what you are doing, tell me why you are doing it? I am having fun and making a living doing it.
There has been a lot of bitterness out there toward me. Some say I’m overhyped, that I will fail. Let me tell you whatever gets said online never gets said to my face. But this is life. When you reach a certain level it just seems to draw in some negative forces.
The haters surface. I simply choose to leave the bitterness behind. As I said before I will wipe away the tears with my money.
They pay their hard-earned money in the hope to one day seeing me face down in a pool of my own blood. I remain victorious, cash their hard-earned money and wipe my ass with it. Thank you for the purchase. Maybe next time it might happen. But next time the price is doubled.
At 26 years of age I hold every record in my game. Highest gates. Highest viewing figures. And on July 11th, highest PPV numbers in the UFC. At 26 years of age, I own my game. I hold the record for the biggest Vegas gate in the UFC, a bigger gate than Floyd Mayweather drew for his comeback fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in 2009.
And he was in his prime, 40 and zero at the time. Floyd and Manny fought recently for a purse of over $200million. I am aiming high. And when I take aim, I hit the target every time. The sky is the limit for me and I know it. And I will let it be known every chance I get.
The money motivates me. I train Martial Arts for the benefits movement gives me. Movement is medication. Get up, crawl from one part of the room to the other. Release those beautiful endorphins that come through exercise and movement. Tell me how good it feels. I will continue to do this for life.
But in this period of my life, in the fight game, I am coming for every number they have. What’s the problem with that? I want to make sure that my kids and my kids’ kids are able to live a good life. I’ve worked harder than anybody. I operate in an unforgiving arena. I have talent and I have a work ethic.
I can say with absolute certainty that there is no harder working sportsman in Ireland. There is no sportsman with more on the line than me right now. They are queuing up to see me fall. To see me face down. All over the world they want to see it. If you think I am going to pretend to be humble and be somebody I am not in this business you are crazy.
If your consciousness, your facial structure, your limbs are not on the line, nothing is on the line. I have it all on the line. On a global scale. Like no other Irish athlete before me. Excuse me for acting the way I act. Excuse me for occasionally rubbing it in. For being over the top. Cocky and arrogant. There is good reason.
When I was 17, after the family had moved out to Lucan, I would get a bus back into town every day and then a second bus out to Crumlin. In my gear-bag were boxing gloves, head-gear, a jockstrap, football boots, my shin pads. I’d spend two hours at Crumlin Boxing Club and then go right next door to Crumlin Football Club and play for two more hours. I always enjoyed being active. Movement distracted me from everyday life.
I never stop. There is energy in motion.
I step into the octagon to destroy Jose Aldo on July 11. To take what is mine. What people don’t understand is that I’ve been in training camp since I was eight years of age, preparing for this moment for 18 years.
And now it is time to reap the benefits. It is my time.
I can feel it out here under the desert sky. Vegas is a beautiful place: great weather, we have our own private gyms set up for my team from Ireland, ideal for training. The circle is small but the results are huge. We’ve taken over a seven-bedroom mansion and I already feel like the richest man on the planet.
When I walked away from a plumbing apprenticeship, when I saw qualified tradesmen bent over double and decided I would make my fortune elsewhere, this is what I pictured. I train hard through the day and then finish up with a barbeque by the pool every night. All the people who have been with me since the start are here.
I look around and see only familiar faces. My coach John, my team-mates Tom, Roddy, Artem, some of the younger kids making their way up.
My wrestling coach, my sparring partners. My team. I believed in my surroundings and my team from day one. I believed we were the best. I was right. We are living the good life, preparing for war and enjoying the ride.
On July 11, Jose Aldo will crumble under the energy. I will taste gold once again. The doubters will find a new excuse. They will pay double next time. The fans who are with me will rejoice. They will celebrate the good life with me so clearly that they reap all the rewards with me.