Dana White sticks to his guns over Conor McGregor's next fight
"When this guy buckles down and focuses, he does amazing things."
Dana White is one man that can surely relate to Conor McGregor.
The UFC president was already doing well for money but he became a multi, multi-millionaire when the company was bought by WME-IMG for $4bn in 2017. White could have easily stepped away and let the new guys take the reins but he opted to stay on, and stay heavily involved.
McGregor's life also changed in 2017 when he signed on to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in his professional boxing debut. He lasted eight rounds with 'Money' and landed some good shots in the early exchanges but was eventually stopped when the undefeated boxing champion upped the ante. Both men walked away from that fight with seven-figure sums deposited in their bank accounts.
McGregor returned to The Octagon in October of this year, after 23 months away from MMA, and he was beaten by Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. 'The Notorious' has since posted that he wants a rematch but is willing to fight whomever the UFC want him to, in order to get back in the title picture.
In early December, White told MMA Fighting:
"I said the fight that makes sense right now is probably [McGregor versus] Dustin Poirier. And then Tony Ferguson gets a shot at the title and the two winners fight each other."
McGregor has already beaten Poirier (pictured below) so getting motivated for a fight against the American may prove a challenge. On FOX Sports' Undisputed, White again said Poirier is the best option for McGregor, but he conceded that the Dubliner would have to truly want to put himself through the wringer to be successful again.
"When this guy buckles down and focuses," White told Skip Bayless, "he does amazing things.
"One if the things that screw up fighting, and bands, and all kinds of other things, is a lot of money! This kid has made a lot of money just from fighting. Now he's got his Notorious whiskey and it's doing very well; he's killing it."
On getting the drive back to fight and train hard again, White added: "It's a lot harder to get punched in the face when you make that kind of money."
Getting back to basics and finding that old desire to be the very best, despite past successes is something that John Kavanagh, McGregor's coach, has touched on before.
Weeks after McGregor's loss to Nurmagomedov, Kavanagh told Ariel Helwani:
"Even from a training stand-point, we would have to go... it's kind of funny - and to use a ridiculous analogy - it's a bit like Rocky III. We had this up-and-coming guy and I want to go back and get the eye of the tiger.
"Go back to this old-school gym and just kind of disappear. Get me, Conor, Artem (Lobov) and Peter (Queally) and that kind of crew, and just disappear for three months. And really put in an old-school training camp; a nightmarish training camp.
"If we are going to do it again, that would be my requirement to go ahead and do this again. And I see Conor, from the limited amount of chat we've had, he wants to do that again, and he's very excited to do it again."
2019 could yet be make or break for the fighting career of Conor McGregor.