The level of autonomy given to Conor McGregor by the UFC is perhaps greater than any other fighter in the promotion's history -- and McGregor knows it.
With the exception of his removal from UFC 200, the reigning featherweight champion has largely called his own shots since winning the belt late last year, from obtaining his rematch against Nate Diaz to successfully refusing to vacate his title ahead of UFC 205's champion versus champion superfight against Eddie Alvarez. Those are simply privileges that come with being the UFC's biggest ever financial draw, and McGregor is unapologetic about what he sees as deserved.
"Listen, everyone in this game does what the f*ck they're told. Everyone but me, because I run this game," McGregor said ahead of UFC 205. "So I don't give a f*ck about all of that. They told you you're on the prelims, you're on the f*cking prelims. They told you to fight, now you're on the f*cking Fight Night. Nobody has no say in this but me. I'm the only one who can say anything about anything. Everyone else does what they're told, and rightfully f*cking so.
"I run this whole sh*t. I run New York. I'm the reason we're even here in the first place. I'm the reason this whole thing is happening. If I wasn't here, this whole ship goes down. And that's the truth. That's facts. There's no one else out there. There's no one but me."
McGregor, 28, has shattered several UFC ratings and financial records on his rise to the top. Just within the past year alone, has he headlined three of the four highest-selling UFC pay-per-views of all-time, with his UFC 202 rematch against Diaz potentially topping the long-held benchmark for pay-per-view success held by UFC 100. McGregor has done it all while still being one of the busiest top-tier fighters on the roster, competing an average of every four months since returning from a knee injury in mid-2014.
And while rumors have swirled that McGregor may take some time off after the UFC's blockbuster entry into New York on Nov. 12, he indicated that he has no intention of slowing this train down anytime soon.
"I love it. I don't stop. It's all I do," McGregor said. "I don't do nothing else. I continue to show up, I continue to fight, I continue to put these amazing events for the amazing fans of this sport. Of course I love what I do, and not only am I not getting tired of it, I'm actually getting better at it.
"I'm understanding. I'm a lot more in control of everything, and that goes right down the line from the media content I'm giving out, just everything. I'm in control of absolutely everything in my life. I keep getting better, and that's at everything. Not just skill-wise, not just cardio-wise, not just nutrition-wise. Everything. Every aspect of my life. Business, media, everything. You name it, I get better each and every day."
With so much going on, it would be easy for McGregor to want to look ahead of UFC 205 and begin plotting his next move. A victory over Alvarez at UFC 205 would be a historical accomplishment and would open the door for a seemingly endless number of possibilities with McGregor as a two-division UFC champion. But with so much opportunity riding on the line, McGregor insisted he is remaining grounded on the task at hand.
"It's never hard for me to focus on this," McGregor said. "It's the entire package, it comes with it. I remain focused. I remain motivated. And that's why I doing what I'm doing. That's why we are where we are, so it has not been hard for me to stay focused, to stay motivated. History is on the horizon."