If Conor McGregor made one thing clear on Saturday night, it was that a blockbuster fight against Floyd Mayweather is the number-one thing resting on his mind.
“That fight is more than just being explored,” McGregor said from Manchester. “That fight has been in the works awhile now. Look, there’s a lot of steps to get through to get the fight going, but it’s the fight to make. It’s the fight the people want. It’s the fight I want. I know I’m confident going in there.
“I’ve got the reach. I’ve got youth. I’ve got the confidence. I’ve got the unpredictable style. You can’t prepare for a style like me. A guy said to me, why conquer one world when you can conquer two? So I’m going to go conquer two worlds.”
A boxing match between McGregor, the reigning UFC lightweight champion, and Mayweather, an undefeated boxer widely considered to be one of the greatest fighters of his generation, has long been teased between the two monolithic figures. Until recently, the notion was widely dismissed as a pipe dream due to the logistical nightmare the fight would entail. But the tenor of that conversation has shifted since McGregor’s historic victory at UFC 205, and McGregor said on Saturday that he is confident Mayweather will be his next opponent, regardless of what the UFC or the contenders in its lightweight division think.
“One-hundred percent,” McGregor said. “I believe the next time I step into a combat arena will be through the ropes wearing 10-ounce or eight-ounce gloves. I believe so.
“The sound of laughter and the sound of doubt motivates me. So I’m enjoying that. I seek that. I don’t feel that going to fight any of these other UFC bums right now. They need to rise up. Right now, they’re down there. I’ve got this situation where people are truly doubting me, like they doubted me at the very, very beginning, and that’s motivating for me. That’s what’s going to drive me to the gym when I need to go to the gym, and to put in that work to get that win. So that’s where we’re at right now.”
McGregor indicated that the wheels for the superfight are already beginning to be set into motion. “The Notorious” plans to travel to Las Vegas in the coming months to clear up the fine he owes the Nevada Athletic Commission stemming from his UFC 202 press conference skirmish with Nate Diaz last August. Once that fine is paid, McGregor will be free to obtain the boxing license he has already applied for in the state of Nevada. Only then, he said, can the discussions begin in earnest.
And while McGregor is open to working with the UFC to make the Mayweather fight a reality, he also indicated that he is more than willing to stage the fight without the promotion’s blessing if things come down to it.
“With the Ali Act, I believe I can,” McGregor said. “Especially now that there’s offers on the table. But I think it’s smoother if we’re all involved. I think we’re all about good business. I’ve done great business with the UFC, with Dana (White), with everyone. I think it’s smoother if everyone just gets together and we get it involved. But again, everyone’s got to know their place.
“Everyone’s got to know their place,” McGregor reiterated. “There’s Mayweather Promotions, there’s the UFC, and now the newly formed McGregor Promotions, and we’re all in the mix. So that’s what I’m saying. Nobody is my boss. I know Floyd likes to say Dana (White) is my boss and this and he decides. Hell no. Nobody decides this. If they let people go fight jiu-jitsu tournaments, they can’t stop me going to fight a boxing fight. So obviously it’s smoother to do it all together, but look, everyone’s just got to know their place, and everyone does know their place. Low key, everyone knows their place, so we’ll figure it out.”
McGregor said that he was happy with the progress that has been made on the fight thus far. Mayweather and UFC president Dana White have fired jabs and counteroffers at one another through the media in recent weeks, with Mayweather offering to pay McGregor $15 million to his $100 million, and White countering by offering each fighter $25 million.
In response, Mayweather scoffed the figures presented by White. And on Saturday, McGregor appeared to thinking along those same lines. The Irishman confidently declared that the match would be the first “billion-dollar fight,” and he laughed at Mayweather’s belief that he, rather than McGregor, should be the A-side.
“He’s the scared side, let’s be honest,” McGregor said. “He’s not trying to have a real fight. He needs rules to protect him. I don’t need rules. So he can say he’s this and he’s that, but in reality, he’s scared sh*tless. He is scared sh*itless. If I decide to just fight him straight-up – look, f*ck the UFC, f*ck MMA, f*ck boxing, f*ck sports fighting. Let’s just say we fight. It’d be the easiest fight ever.
“So he can say what he wants and he can try to promote what way he wants, he can try to pick up his net worth – it was a nice little play when he crossed his net worth with my net worth, even though that net worth is completely wrong. … But it was a nice little play by him. I’m enjoying the little game we’re having back-and-forth. I can’t wait until we get it done and it’s like, there’s the date, let’s get the fans wild for this and let’s go have a proper knock under specific rules to keep you alive.”
When asked when he expects the fight to take place, McGregor said that he believes it could happen “by the end of this year or early next year.” If that timeline comes to fruition, it could mean McGregor would remain on the shelf for much longer than the UFC initially anticipated, however McGregor was unconcerned by any potential recourse the UFC would take in his absence.
“I’ll tell you what, for $100 million, I’ll sit for another year,” McGregor said.
“I’m twitching (from inactivity) sometimes, but f*ck it, this is historic. Fighting Khabib what-the-f*ck-his-name-is, Tony Donkey, Jose, even Woodley for the third (title), it’s not this. Sometimes you’ve got to be patient with situations, and I feel this is one of them. Plus, the situation around me, Dee’s about to have a baby, I’m looking forward to that. I’m in a different mindset right now, so I’m happy. Everything seems to just be working perfectly for me, so a little bit of wait is not too bad. I’m okay with it this time, for now.”