Conor McGregor makes three crucial admissions in lengthy statement on Khabib loss
It has taken just over a fortnight for Conor McGregor to stew on his UFC 229 defeat, but he has now offered his take on how the fight played out.
McGregor lost the UFC lightweight title fight against reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, on October 7, when he submitted to a neck crank applied midway through the fourth round.
'The Notorious' had negotiated the first round well, took some damage in the second, won the third and was looking good heading into the fourth. In that round, his cardio seemed to falter badly and his takedown defence suffered as a consequence.
Following that loss, Nurmagomedov lept from The Octagon to instigate a brief flurry with Dillon Danis, McGregor's training partner. The Dubliner, meanwhile, was assailed by several of Nurmagomedov's team inside The Octagon until security intervened.
It was for that reason that McGregor did not do any post-fight interviews. Remember, he had spoken with Joe Rogan and attended the UFC 196 post-fight press conference when he lost to Nate Diaz.
'It’s all me always, anyway'
Since UFC 229, McGregor has embarked on a tour of the United States promoting his new whiskey. He has obviously been thinking a great deal about the fight and, in the early hours on Tuesday morning, he posted this take on his latest bout:
'Thoughts on my last fight.
'Round 1. I believe from a sport standpoint, round 1 was his. Top position against the fence. Zero position advancement or damage inflicted. But top position. From a fight standpoint the first round is mine. Actual shots landed and a willingness to engage. Straight left early. Knee to the head on the low shot. Elbows in any and all tie up scenarios. Opponent just holding the legs against the fence for almost the entire round.
'Round 2 he is running away around the cage before being blessed with a right hand that changed the course of the round, and the fight. It was a nice shot. After the shot I bounced back up to engage instantly, but again he dipped under to disengage. That is the sport and it was a smart move that led to a dominant round, so no issue. Well played.
'If I stay switched on and give his stand up even a little more respect, that right hand never gets close and we are talking completely different now. I gave his upright fighting no respect in preparation. No specific stand up spars whatsoever. Attacking grapplers/wrestlers only. That won’t happen again.
'I also gave my attacking grappling no respect. To0 defence-minded. Lessons. Listen to nobody but yourself on your skill set. You are the master of your own universe. I am the master of this. I must take my own advice.
'Round 3. After the worst round of my fighting career, I come back and win this round. Again walking forward, walking him down, and willing to engage.
'Round 4. My recovery was not where it could have been here. That is my fault.
'Although winning the early exchanges in 4, he dips under again and I end up in a bad position with over 3 on the clock. I work to regain position and end up upright, with my back to the fence. A stable position. Here however, I made a critical error of abandoning my over hook at this crucial time, exposing the back, and I end up beaten fair and square.
'What can I say? It was a great fight and it was my pleasure. I will be back with my confidence high. Fully prepared.
'If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line. It’s all me always, anyway. See you soon my fighting fans I love you all.'
There we have it, and three crucial admissions in there:
- No proper stand-up sparring
- Grappling training was 'too defence-minded'
- Recovery was 'not where it could have been'
Interesting to note that McGregor states he is willing to wait for a rematch. This may be in line with the UFC's desires as their president, Dana White has declared he wants to see Nurmagomedov fight Ferguson.