McGregor prepared to step in at UFC 249 main event in April
"I had a little game-plan. I was coming back for the season."
To Conor McGregor, if all goes according to his plan, 2020 will be his most active year since he fought three times in 2016 and became 'The Champ Champ' along the way.
'The Notorious' takes on Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas on January 18 and although he is speaking respectfully about his opponent, it is hard not to look beyond that bout to wait lies ahead.
Beat Cerrone and a world of options awaits, in both the lightweight and welterweight divisions. McGregor spoke with The Mac Life about his goals for what he is calling the 2020 season and he has gold straps on his mind.
The 31-year-old is interested in taking on 170lb champion Kamaru Usman but admits his interest in a Jorge Masvidal fight is piqued by the Florida native holding the recently minted 'Baddest Motherf***er' belt.
Frankie Edgar was also an option although the UFC appear to have stepped in there as 'The Answer' is now operating down at bantamweight and would have to get back to 155lbs [he was UFC lightweight champion from 2010 to 2012] to face McGregor.
The Dubliner is eager to stay active as he believes that was when he was at his best as a fighter. That tallies with his impressive 7-1 run from July 2014 to November 2016 that saw him consecutively hold the UFC's featherweight and lightweight belts.
One bout that McGregor could quickly sign up for, should he get the win over Cerrone, is Justin Gaethje. 'The Highlight Reel' was miffed that Cerrone got the McGregor bout, which will be a huge pay-day, and he was more irritated to hear McGregor talking about facing current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov too. Another path blocked for Gaethje but there could be hope yet.
"I laugh at Justin," McGregor said. "He's been taking it very [much] to heart... Maybe I'll get through Donald and I'll have a quick turnaround against Justin. Justin is on the list, no doubt."
That Gaethje bout could well find it's way onto the main card for UFC 249, which could well tee up the biggest pay-per-view in the promotion's recent history. UFC 249 is, of course, being headlined by Nurmagomedov's title defence against Tony Ferguson, but McGregor is well aware of the history of the promotion trying to pair those two men off.
"When's that lightweight [title] fight on - April?" McGregor said. "It's likely that something will happen there so I'd be ready to slot in for that bout."
"You know the way they are," he added. "Multiple times, it's been scheduled four times in a row and now this is the fifth. For me, I'm back in my old frame of mind. I just want consistency and competition... whoever, wherever."
While Nurmagomedov and Ferguson did face other opponents over the years, they have indeed been slated to face each other on four different occasions in the past but injuries and botched weight cuts have intervened to dash the hopes of fight fans.
The prospect of McGregor stepping in to face either man would add a lot of interest, and heat to UFC 249. His spectre would loom over the event and it just happens to be in the same venue - Barclays Center, Brooklyn - where McGregor attacked a bus that was transporting Nurmagomedov with a hand-trolley and smashed a window.
And as Plan B's go, having McGregor vs. Gaethje as a co main event would ensure it being the most talked about event of the MMA year.