UFC star Conor McGregor watched rival Nate Diaz make a triumphant return last weekend in his first fight in three years on the same card in which Stipe Miocic reclaimed the heavyweight title from the man who took it from him.
It got him thinking about a redemption tour of his own.
“Mine is gonna be the greatest one of all,” McGregor said in a lengthy interview with ESPN on Thursday.
It was McGregor’s first extensive comments since video surfaced last week of him punching a man at a bar in Ireland.
McGregor took the blame and made no excuses for his actions, but stopped short of apologizing.
“In reality, it doesn’t matter what happened there,” McGregor said. “I was in the wrong. That man deserved to enjoy his time in the pub without having it end the way it did.
“Although (it was five months ago), I tried to make amends. And I made amends back then. Still that does not even matter. I was in the wrong. I have to realize that’s not the attitude or behavior of a leader, of a martial artist, of a champion.”
The incident, still under investigation, occurred in April, a month after McGregor was arrested for breaking the phone of a man who was taking pictures of McGregor and his entourage outside a club in Miami.
It’s part of a growing rap sheet, including his 2018 arrest and guilty plea for attacking a bus containing UFC fighters in New York.
McGregor last fought in October, losing to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at T-Mobile Arena in a bout that was marred by a brawl outside the cage. McGregor is recovering from a broken hand that scrapped plans for a July return against Justin Gaethje, but indicated he plans to fight this year.
“I must get my head screwed on and just get back in the game and fight for redemption, retribution, respect — the things that made me the man I am,” McGregor said. “And that’s what I will do.
“So if I have this opportunity before me, if I don’t execute this and get this right, make this happen for the children of my children’s children, all of my successes, all of everything I’ve achieved will be void, will be meaningless to me. I must get this right, and I must not go down that path, the written path, the cliche of the fighter that has it all and ruins (it). I need to be aware of my past, of the past of other individuals, and learn from it and grow, and that’s what I’m doing.”
Brown set to return
UFC veteran Matt Brown will return to the cage Dec. 14 at T-Mobile Arena.
Brown will face Ben Saunders in a welterweight bout at UFC 245, officials confirmed to the Review-Journal on Friday.
Brown, 38, has not fought since November 2017, when he knocked out Diego Sanchez to snap a three-fight losing streak. He was scheduled to fight Carlos Condit in April 2018, but had to withdraw because of a torn ACL.
Saunders has lost three straight and five of six. He’s coming off a knockout loss to Takashi Sato in April.
UFC 245 includes a women’s bantamweight title bout between former featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie and current bantamweight and featherweight champ Amanda Nunes.
UFC signs silver medalist
Mark O. Madsen, who won silver for Denmark in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, has signed with the UFC and will debut Sept. 28.
The 8-0 lightweight will face Danilo Belluardo at UFC Fight Night 160 in Copenhagen.
The card will be headlined by a middleweight bout between Jack Hermansson and Jared Cannonier. It also features a welterweight fight between Gunnar Nelson and Thiago Alves.
Saturday: Bellator 225 (Paramount), Bridgeport, Conn.
Aug. 31: UFC Fight Night 157 (ESPN Plus), Shenzhen, China
Sept. 7: Bellator 226 (Paramount), San Jose, Calif.
Sept. 7: UFC 242 (ESPN/ESPN Plus PPV), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Sept. 14: UFC Fight Night 158 (ESPN Plus), Vancouver, British Columbia
Sept. 21: UFC Fight Night 159 (ESPN Plus), Mexico City