Even Dana White is willing to admit that Conor McGregor’s massive success and wealth haven’t exactly increased his drive to continue entertaining fans inside the Octagon.
It’s now been more than two years since “The Notorious” saw his trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 end after the first round when the Irishman broke his ankle. A coaching role on Season 31 of The Ultimate Fighter seemed like a signal that McGregor would soon return to fighting, but so far fans are still waiting for the former two-division UFC champion to actually book a return bout.
White would obviously love to see the biggest star in UFC history get back into the Octagon, but the UFC CEO recently told Piers Morgan that he can’t pretend McGregor is the same person he was early on in his fighting career.
“Once a certain level of money is attained, to be the person that you were coming up, to be that hungry, and work that hard, and be that dedicated to the sport or whatever craft it is you do — money changes everything,” White said (h/t Sportskeeda for the transcription). “And Conor McGregor has made that kind of money. And it’s not a knock. It’s just a fact.”
Dana White: “The Hunger And The Drive Is Not The Same” For Conor McGregor
A return to action for McGregor would probably still be a massive event for the UFC, but White admits that the success “The Notorious” has experienced may have taken away some of his competitive fire.
(Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)
“The hunger and the drive is not the same. Conor McGregor is the perfect example. Everything that Conor McGregor ever dreamed of, and stuff he couldn’t possibly dream of in his life, he has right now. And it’s tough to be on a yacht all summer and then say, ‘Oh, I gotta get back in the gym and start grinding again.’ And again, it’s not a knock. It’s the way life is, especially in the fight business.”
McGregor was expected to face his opposing TUF 31 coach Michael Chandler by the end of the year, and although the former two-division champion maintains he wants to fight in December his ongoing absence from the USADA pool means fans will probably have to wait until at least next year to see him compete again.
The 35-year-old has unsurprisingly stayed active on social media during his hiatus from fighting, and he’s been more than happy to call out some of the promotion’s biggest names whenever the mood strikes him.
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