‘I was drinking all bleeding week’: Conor McGregor admits whiskey benders before defeat to Khabib
As fight preparations go they are far from ideal, but Conor McGregor has revealed he was “drinking all week” before his defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov in their lightweight title fight at UFC 229 in Las Vegas.
McGregor was beaten by the Russian via fourth-round submission at T-Mobile Arena in October 2018, which was the last time ‘The Notorious’ appeared in the octagon.
The Irishman returns this weekend to face Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in their welterweight headliner at UFC 246 at the same venue.
And McGregor, who is rapidly becoming as famous for his ‘Proper Number 12’ whiskey brand as for his fighting, says his preparations have been very different this time around – including laying off the alcohol.
“Three, four months ago,” the whiskey-loving McGregor told ESPN when asked about the last time he had had a drink.
“I was drinking all bleeding fight week [before the Khabib fight]. I don’t know why. I had venom in me or something.
“I had people holed up in a hotel from that part of the world, and I would ring and arrange a fight, they would come to the gym and have a full-blown fight with no headguards.
“I’d have a war, win and I’d knock the guy out and go off and celebrate and come back in three days.
“I wasn’t doing what I should have been doing, not living the life that I should have been living.”
McGregor and his camp have frequently asserted that we will see a more focused version of the Irishman against Cerrone, and much more akin to the fighter who hammered his way to UFC titles in two divisions before he took a boxing detour to face Floyd Mayweather in 2017.
“I’m in a great spot now, and that’s it,” McGregor, 31, said. “I’ve made mistakes and I’ve been man enough to admit them and correct them. I might not be perfect, but with a good sleep and a full belly, I’m damn close.”
And while McGregor has Cerrone, 36, in his immediate crosshairs, he reiterated his desire to avenge what was a comprehensive defeat to lightweight king Khabib.
That bout was tarnished by a toxic build-up and was bookended by a mass post-fight brawl among the two fighters’ camps.
McGregor was accused of targeting Khabib’s family, homeland and Muslim faith, but himself said Nurmagomedov was responsible for fueling those tensions, not least through a hotel confrontation with McGregor’s training partner, Artem Lobov.
“There were actions that led to those words, there were things that were said,” McGregor said.
“Like the Artem situation, things that maybe slipped under the radar, like it was me that began all this. Whatever, it did get very personal.
“I’m taking a back step from that and focusing on the skills. It’s a very skilful bout [against Khabib]. He poses a specific style set, I pose a specific style set. It’s a clash, it’s very exciting and I look forward to that in the next bout, settling it.
“It touched some of the things, maybe too far, but it’s the fight business, it went the way it went.”
When questioned about Khabib’s stance that McGregor would “need to win 10 fights in a row” to earn a second crack at him, The Notorious claimed that was simply “fear” from the Russian at the prospect of facing him a second time.