Conor McGregor has spoken about his approach to the harsh realities of the fight-game in a new interview, explaining the importance of intelligent decision making in the face serious harm.
It’s almost odd to see an interview of this length featuring the Irishman as its subject these days.
McGregor has remained tight-lipped since his UFC 229 defeat to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov as far as public speaking appearances have been concerned – something that has been a far-cry from his relentless assault on the mainstream during his rise.
Thankfully, the former two-weight champion has now has featured in a recent interview with motivational speaker Tony Robbins – an interview that was presumably recorded last month when the pair were photographed together but only released in full this week.
Upon being asked if he was willing to die in the cage, Conor brought up the tragic death of Joao Carvalho following a showdown against his friend and teammate Charlie Ward t highlight the very real risks that come with stepping into the realms of combat.
“Yes. Yes. [You] have to be. I have seen a man die in this game. I was ringside. I cornered a man who killed a man. I cornered a man who killed a man on Irish soil. The only death in mixed martial arts history in Ireland.
“It was everywhere. A couple of days after that, the UFC wanted me to fly over to the United States of America to promote the next bout and I was like ‘I can’t do this, I need to get away, my head needs to be in the correct spot’.
“It’s a ruthless, ruthless game. You have to be willing. Because you can go in there and when you come out, you’re a different person.”
In another section of the lengthy interview, Conor spoke about a change in mindset he had experienced recently following his more material-driven focus in recent years.
There will always be a strong emphasis on bravery in combat sports but as Conor explains, the risks that come with his game are ones completely outside of what most will ever experience in life.
In one interesting section, McGregor appeared to note how intelligent decision-making inside the octagon can extend to knowing when to accept defeat when it’s seemingly unavoidable.
“If I could describe it to people, it’s like entering a car-crash. The shins are bare, the feet are bare. You can strike with the elbows, the knees. It’s a vicious, vicious game and you’ve got to be fully committed and willing to go all of the way.
“That’s what I am. That’s what I have been.
“I make correct decisions even in defeat. I know that if there is an out and it’s time to get out, I know when to live to fight another day.
“You have to be intelligent in there as well otherwise you won’t live to fight another day – and that’s what happened in my last bout. It did not go my way, but then the fight broke out afterwards and I bounced back in.“
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena