Conor McGregor: Diego Sanchez belongs 'in Bellator with the rest of the has-beens'

Esther Lin

Conor McGregor discovered early on that making bold proclamations will get you attention in the mixed martial arts game.

It seems the rest of the MMA world is discovering that goading McGregor into a war of words is also a good way to get some face time.

Ireland's finest featherweight is currently in Los Angeles rehabbing the torn ACL which will keep him out of action well into next year.

But other fighters have made it a habit to call out the talkative Dubliner.

Foremost on that list is veteran Diego Sanchezwho ripped into McGregor on an October edition of The MMA Hour. Monday, it was McGregor's turn to fire back.

"The guy is a has-been," McGregor said. "He should be in Bellator with the rest of the has-beens. There's no doubt about it."

Sanchez took exception to an interview and series of tweets in which McGregor took potshots at the featherweight top 10. But Monday, McGregor said the beef dates back to the buildup to McGregor's August UFC Fight Night bout against Max Holloway in Boston.

"Let's go back way back to where it really started," McGregor said. "In the leadup to my Max Holloway fight in Boston, when I was doing all my media campaign and my media workout and all that to do, that has been loser was all over Twitter slinging me and saying ‘who is this guy, Holloway is going to own him,' tweet after tweet after tweet. And even then, I didn't acknowledge it. I said, 'that guy's not in my path, I don't give a s--- about that guy, let him say what he wants.'"

After defeating Holloway and injuring his knee in the process, McGregor, who at the time thought the injury was only going to keep him from training for 4-6 weeks, says he was focused on finding a fight with a ranked featherweight.

"I'm thinking OK who's next, who do I want next?" McGregor sad. I want anyone and everyone in that top 10. I'm doing this interview on the top 10, and they asked me about the top 10 and I give my honest opinion on everyone .... I gave my honest opinion for guys I want to face. Excuse me for wanting to face guys in my top 10. I apologize. And then this has been gets involved once again saying I have no respect."

In McGregor's view of the situation, at this point, he needed to respond.

"So I responded, I call him the fattest, slowest, sloppiest martial artist I've ever laid eyes on," McGregor said. "I told him I'd go to 170, I'd whup his fat ass easy. ... He was the one who started about me. I gave my opinion on the Top 10. Nobody else. I had my eyes up on the top 10. I ignored what Diego was saying on the leadup to the Holloway fight. Then I said OK, I'll push the top 10 aside and I'll go after Diego Sanchez a little bit."

McGregor, then has made it quite clear he'd like to fight Sanchez. One guy he's not likely to fight, though, is undefeated British middleweight Luke Barnatt, who also called McGregor out.

On last week's MMA Hour, Barnatt accused McGregor of buying fake Twitter followers to build his hype. McGregor reacted to Barnatt with disdain.

"Silliest thing I've ever watched in my life," McGregor said. "A light heavyweight eight-foot stick of s--- from England, talking absolute s--- that he knows nothing about. It was the weirdest s---, watching the jealousy come out of the man's pores. A man who isn't even in my own dominion. I thought it was the funniest thing ever. All I know is, when the door shut and the bell rings, no one does it better than me. I walk the walk, I don't just talk the f--- talk. I'm going to walk through that entire top 10."

And then there was Cole Miller, the veteran featherweight who took to the mic after defeating Andy Ogle on Oct. 26 and also called out McGregor.

This time out, McGregor doesn't seem much inclined to escalate things.

"That's a fight that's interesting to me," McGregor said. "Cole's all right, I don't mind him. This f--- sport is crazy. I'm just being me."

All the chit-chat and armchair matchmaking, of course, leads to one big question: When will McGregor actually fight again? He indicated that he'll return home to Ireland at the start of the new year and if all goes according to plan, get back into contact drills in February.  A scheduled May, 2014 event in Ireland is a hopeful goal for an Octagon return, but it could be later.

"Doctor says I'll be grappling by February," McGregor said. "That's my prayers answered right there. I'm not a holy man, but I miss the mat so much. It's the only thing that distracts me from everything else. Only thing that eliminates everything else is that time on the mat, studying jiu-jitsu. February is when I can be back, I can't wait to be back."

Be that as it may, McGregor really wants Sanchez. And he wants Sanchez to bring it.

"I want Mark Hunt -Bigfoot Silva s---, yeah? That's what I want to happen," he said. "I will make that fight happen. I guarantee you, before he retires, I'm going to whup him. I'm going to school him in evasive combat."

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