UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor is one of the many athletes to strip bare in the latest ESPN the Magazine "Body Issue," which also includes a revealing interview that's full of the kind of chest-puffing self-absorption we've come to expect from The Notorious, who claims to be "made of steel."
But there's also this: "I entered that last fight full. I was full in every sense. My plate was full, my belly was full. That's not why we fight. We originally fight for food, to eat. We fight hungry. The birth of fighting is to eat. So I'm happy with the lessons learned. I feel like my gut has been emptied again, like I am hungry again."
Is that humility? From Conor McGregor, a man who almost certainly fantasizes about himself during sex? It certainly looks like it.
The biggest mouth in the MMA, who in this same interview said he'd be as good as the greatest boxer of his generation if only he focused on the sport, has finally settled on the real reason he lost to Nate Diaz. It wasn't cheesecake or a bad game plan. It was a lack of desire (and poor cardio training).
Now, McGregor, who calls himself "just a kid that defied the odds," suggests that the hunger is back. Both literally and figuratively. His next fight against Diaz at UFC 202 will be contested at 170 pounds, which means that while McGregor will want to stay trim, he won't have to cut so much weight that he looks like the twin brother that his parents keep locked in the basement.
That's a good thing. Becuase at 170, he's got more power. And in August, he says, it's going to be a "cakewalk."
That quote shows that McGregor is already trying to beat Diaz. As he told ESPN, he tries to defeat his opponents three different ways, and only one of them happens in the cage on fight night.
"Verbal warfare is another form of warfare, so I look to engage in that 100 percent. It's just part of the game. It's part of the business. You beat him verbally, you beat him mentally and then finally you beat him physically. That's the three ways to beat a man," he says.