UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor has come out in support of Ronda Rousey as the former women’s bantamweight champion makes her long-awaited return to the octagon.
Last week, the UFC officially announced that Rousey will face current bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 this December, a year on since her shocking loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193.
Giving her extended sabbatical, many have criticised Rousey for receiving a title shot following a loss, leaving many deserving contenders in the cold. However, one fighter firmly in Rousey’s corner is Conor McGregor, who, in the bantamweight’s absence, has become the UFC’s biggest draw.
Speaking with Sports Illustrated, via MMA Fighting recently, the Dubliner stated he’s looking forward to an emphatic comeback by Rousey, where she can effectively silence all the haters she’s amassed over the past year.
“I’d tell her to go shut them all up now. Shut them all up. Go and stake your claim again.”
McGregor is no stranger to defeat. At UFC 196 this past March he experienced his first loss inside the UFC octagon at the hands of Nate Diaz. Redemption was quick however, as the slander-spewing Irishman met Diaz again at UFC 202, defeating the Stockton native by majority decision and recouping his previous loss.
Now Rousey finds herself in a similar position to seek redemption and McGregor hopes she finds inspiration from his wars with Diaz.
“I’m very excited. It’s good to finally see her back.”
“Losses can really affect you. It’s a crazy business we’re in, especially at the very, very high top. I hope she took inspiration on how I came back from my defeat. And I wish her all the best. She’s a solid competitor and I’m excited to see how it unfolds.”
While Rousey attempts to shake off the ring rust in time for UFC 207, McGregor is preparing himself for a lightweight title fight with Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November.
If he manages to see his hand raised, he’ll become the first fighter in the promotion’s history to hold two division titles simultaneously.
UFC 207 takes place on December 30th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
James McDonald, Pundit Arena