Former UFC champion Conor McGregor has granted ESPN’s Ariel Helwani a rare sit down interview in the lead-up to his clash with Donald Cerrone at UFC 246. On Friday ESPN released a teaser of that forthcoming interview, showing McGregor explain why he picked Cerrone as an opponent.
“Well I said I’d fight him right?” revealed McGregor. “I mean, me and Donald have a history, a long history, well not a long history, but we’ve had a history. It’s an exciting bout. It’s a fan friendly bout. It’s a fight that excites me and it’s a fight that I said I would take.”
McGregor continued to state that he both respects and appreciates Cerrone’s career achievements and the manner in which ‘Cowboy’ has conducted himself.
“He’s also a family man, with his grandmother, and I appreciate that and I respect that. And I also respect the method he went about with the Proper Whiskey [tweet to promote the fight]. So much work goes into these things, but to see that bit of respect; I appreciate that and I look forward to having a good bout.”
“I’m happy to come back and have my comeback fight and the beginning of my season against Donald and I look forward to it,” continued McGregor. “It’s going to be a good night and I’m going to shine here on January 18th. I’m going to create magic inside the Octagon like I have done many times before, but this is going to be something special.”
The clip also included some discussion about why this bout was being contested at welterweight. McGregor has fought at 170 lbs before, but his championship wins came at 145 and 155 lbs.
Referring to Cerrone, McGregor said. “I just don’t think he looks well at 155. He does not look well at 155. He’s a 170 fighter.”
Following up on this comment, Helwani asked McGregor why not make the fight at lightweight in order to force his opponent to suffer a grueling weight cut.
“Why would I want someone to suffer?” responded McGregor. “I don’t care. No. ... I could beat him at any weight. I could beat him if I had the flu. I don’t care.”
McGregor then said that he likes the current situation in the UFC’s welterweight division and that he feels “energetic” at the weight. He added that this does not mean he was finished with the lightweight division, though.
You can check out the full three minute clip below:
Helwani’s full interview with McGregor is expected to be released on Monday. McGregor has done considerably less media leading up this fight than he has done in previous years. Factoring into that decision could be the potential for uncomfortable questions being directed at the Irishman, such as those related to The New York Times claiming he has been investigated for two alleged sexual assaults.