McGregor Defends Rousey Following Loss

Conor McGregor had nothing to do with UFC 207 in December, but his name was brought up often in the aftermath: after Ronda Rousey’s brutal loss, there was a common sentiment that McGregor was all the UFC had left in terms of star power, and thus he had reason to celebrate.

McGregor, however, did not get to his level of success by celebrating the defeat of others.

Speaking at a Q&A in Manchester, the Irish superstar shot down the notion that he would take pleasure from seeing the game’s only other top draw wiped off the board.

“When Ronda lost, I woke up to all these messages, ‘Now let’s see what they do.’ And I’m like, what? I love Ronda, I was always a big supporter of Ronda,” McGregor said.

“Then she loses that second one and people are trying to make me celebrate, ‘now they’ve got nobody.’ That’s a wrong mindset. I don’t celebrate another’s defeat like that. That’s weak. A weak individual does that. People were trying to celebrate when I lost who had nothing to do with it. That ain’t the sign of a champion. That ain’t the sign of a true champion, so I couldn’t believe it.”

In the lead-up to UFC 207 Ronda Rousey was largely absent, having been granted permission to skip out on all media responsibilities. Her situation was quickly compared to McGregor’s prior to UFC 200, an event he was pulled from because he didn’t want to fly from Iceland to Las Vegas for the press conference months in advance.

Again, McGregor took the high road rather than criticizing the UFC for giving Rousey leeway that they denied him.

“We’re in on it on our own,” McGregor said. “What someone else is or isn’t allowed, and what somebody does or doesn’t do, has no effect on me and what I do. I’m doing what I do. She’s doing what she’s doing. Everyone else is doing what they’re doing. It is what it is. She didn’t have to do the media and got away with that — that’s great. If they had done that for me, I probably would’ve showed up at UFC 200.

“But we split the card. UFC 200 did great numbers, UFC 202 did great numbers. It also gave me that extra bit of time, that looking back, I probably needed. I probably needed that extra time. So everything worked out perfectly for me. So I’m sitting there and I heard that she requested no media, and they gave her no media, I was happy for her because that’s what she asked for. And then I also didn’t give a f*ck. I was just chilling.”

Rousey was returning following her first loss to Holly Holm over a year prior to UFC 207. Many questioned whether she was in the right mental state heading into the fight with Nunes, or if the media blackout was a sign of bad things to come. McGregor, however, believes that Rousey was well-prepared for her comeback.

“Look, she came in phenomenal shape, Ronda did. I have no doubt she was backstage hungry, training,” McGregor said. “I knew by the shape of her. I knew by looking at her on the scales, she came in with everything. She got hit with a inside leg kick and a jab at the opening bell, and listen, these girls are very, very small. If things go wrong, if you get one crack, everything can just slip away.

“So she handled it her way. I don’t think the way she handled it was incorrect. She did what she had to do. She got away from the spotlight, she focused on her preparation. She got hit early and then went down. That’s it, that’s the fight game. It’s a cruel business. But she handled it the way she should handle it, and she came in shape, and that’s it.”

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