Conor McGregor Walks Away from MMA, then Gets UFC Call

Conor McGregorMaking his rounds on the UFC 189 World Tour, featherweight title challenger Conor McGregor stopped by FOX Sports’ The Fighter and The Kid podcast, which is co-hosted by comedian Bryan Callen and professional mixed martial artist Brendan Schaub. During the interview, “The Notorious” revealed that at the time he got the call from the UFC, he had already decided to walk away from the sport. “There’s many ups and downs in the fight game. There’s many times you have these conversations where you wanna do it, you don’t wanna do it, but I think for me (it) was when I originally signed with the UFC. I was already a two weight champion with my previous organization; I held the featherweight belt and I held the lightweight belt, but as you know, outside of the UFC it is not financially secure, so I was unsure of what to do,” said McGregor. The future did not look so bright then for the young Irishman, who began questioning himself and his choices when a dear friend and teammate had received a career-ending diagnosis. “A longtime teammate of mine had gotten some bad news, from too many wars inside the Octagon. I sat back and the UFC had not called at this stage, where I had two gold belts wrapped around my waist, and I was thinking I don’t think I wanna do this, maybe this is not for me,” said McGregor. “This happened to my friend who came up with me in the game and he cannot compete anymore…and he is UFC-caliber also, but he never got his opportunity,” added McGregor. Seeing his friend’s career come to an unfortunate end, McGregor had begun to sour on the sport of mixed martial arts. “I had essentially walked away from the sport. I was out of the gym for maybe three, four weeks… I am never out of the gym for three to four weeks,” firmly assured McGregor. “I was sitting in my friends’ car and the phone rang, it was from Iceland. My coach Jon Kavanaugh was in Iceland with my teammate Gunnar [Nelson] who was preparing to fight…and it rang and it rang, and I did not wanna answer because I had not been to the gym in four weeks and I coached the boxing class in the gym, so every Tuesday for them four weeks I was missing, and I just didn’t text anyone, I didn’t show up, I was just done, I was gone,” said McGregor. McGregor had already taken a step or two towards putting the sport in his rear-view, but the MMA bug refused to go away quietly. “And the phone kept ringing and ringing, and my friend in the car said, ‘just answer the thing.’ I said I’m not answering the thing because it’s gonna be a fight, we’re gonna be arguing over something. I’m just gonna leave and just forget about it,” said McGregor. McGregor thought he was done with the sport of mixed martial arts, but little did he know, the sport was not done with him. “It kept ringing, so I said I’ll answer it,” said McGregor. ”How do you feel about making your UFC debut in nine weeks in Sweden?” recalled McGregor. That was it. The young Irishman knew he had been drafted for war. “I put the phone down and I had a long conversation with myself and said, some people’s journeys are meant to go other ways, but this is my destiny now. I will give this everything.”

Written by Gabe Killian

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