ABU DHABI – UFC president Dana White sees Conor McGregor going down one of two paths after Saturday night.
Depending on his mindset following his UFC 257 second-round knockout loss to Dustin Poirier, McGregor (27-6 MMA, 19-5 UFC) could come back hungrier – or not at all, according to his boss.
“I think it’ll make him hungry,” White said at the post-fight news conference. “I think it will make him hungrier. There’s two ways this goes: hungrier or, ‘I’m done.’”
White reflected on McGregor’s rise through the MMA ranks from a plumber’s apprentice on welfare to a global superstar. Outside of the sport, McGregor has everything he’s aspired for in terms of wealth and fame, so White would understand if McGregor chose the second option.
“He’s got the money. When you think about it, I’m a huge ‘Rocky’ fan. This feels like ‘Rocky 3,’” White said. “When you get off a 310-foot yacht, you know what I mean? You’re living that good life.
“It’s tough to be a savage when you’re living like he lives and has the money like he has. On his way up, he was a young, hungry kid, and he didn’t have any money and he wanted nice things. He wanted nice suits, nice cars, nice houses. He has everything he ever wanted. I don’t know. It goes this way or that way.”
McGregor, 32, returned from a 12-month layoff to compete in just his second fight in 29 months. The former UFC double champion is 1-2 in his most recent three fights, with both losses coming inside the distance. UFC 257 marked the first time McGregor had been stopped due to strikes in his pro career.
For his part, McGregor indicated he’ll bounce back from this loss.
“I’ll certainly regroup. I’ll regroup and pick myself up, get up off off the floor and go again,” McGregor said. “Styles make fights. There’s many great stylistic matchups out there. Myself and Dustin are 1-and-1. Myself and Nate (Diaz) are 1-and-1. There’s many good matchups for me. … It wasn’t my night. It wasn’t a great night, but no excuses. Hats off. I’ll regroup and pick myselk up.”
UFC 257 took place Saturday at Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The main card streamed on ESPN+ pay-per-view after prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.