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Conor McGregor nearly gave up on MMA two years ago: I was just done; I was gone

UFC featherweight star Conor McGregor recalls a time when he nearly gave up on his fighting career.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

A quick glance at Irish superstar Conor McGregor, with his custom suits, brash attitude and unwavering confidence, would immediately confirm that he is a man who was destined to become a fighter. However, as was recently revealed, even those who are destined for success can fall off the beaten path.

During an appearance on Fighter and the Kid with Brendan Schaub and Bryan Callen, McGregor revealed that he was quite close to prematurely putting an end to his fighting career.

Ironically, his moment of doubt came just a few months before his UFC debut.

"As you know, outside the UFC, (MMA fighting) is not financially secure," McGregor said. "So, I was unsure of what to do. A longtime teammate of mine had got some bad news from too many wars inside the Octagon. So, you know, I sat back, and the UFC had not called at this stage where I had two gold belts wrapped around my waist, and I was thinking, 'I don't think I want to do this. Maybe, maybe this is not for me.' If this happened to my friend, who came up with me in the game and now he cannot compete anymore... And he is UFC-caliber, also. But he never got his opportunity. So I sat back and had essentially walked away from the sport. I was out of the gym for maybe three, four weeks, which is ... I am never out of the gym for three to four weeks."

Given that McGregor was a young and dominant two-division champion in European promotion Cage Warriors, it was a surprise to many. He avoided the gym and ignored phone calls.

"I was sitting in my friend's car at one stage and the phone rang," McGregor remembered. "It was from Iceland. My coach was in Iceland with my teammate Gunnar (Nelson). He was preparing to fight. And it rang, and it rang. And I did not want to answer, because I had not been in the gym for four weeks and I coached the boxing class at the gym. So, for every Tuesday for (those) four weeks I was missing. I didn't text anyone. I didn't show up. I was just done. I was gone."

McGregor did this for several weeks before he finally decided to pick up the phone. When he did, he heard his coach John Kavanagh ask if was ready to make his UFC debut in nine weeks. As we now know, the rest is history.

"Then, I put the phone down," McGregor said. "And I just had a long conversation with myself and said, 'Some people's journeys are meant to go other ways but this is my destiny now.' And that's when I said, 'I will give this everything now.'"

Transcription taken from