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Conor McGregor Checks In For UFC 264 Fight Week At The UFC Apex Ahead Of His Trilogy Bout With Dustin Poirier July 2021 (Photo by Braydon Jackson/Zuffa LLC)
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Conor McGregor Takes Control

"The Notorious" Plots The Path To Capturing His Trilogy With Dustin Poirier

Throughout his eight years in the UFC, we’ve seen a handful of versions of Conor McGregor — each of which has constructed a different layer to both his legacy and the sport of mixed martial arts as a whole.

Conor McGregor | Top Finishes
Conor McGregor | Top Finishes
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Taking in strides the good and the bad of nearly a decade of trailblazing inside (and out of) the Octagon, McGregor’s presence and career trajectory has inspired not only a whole nation, but an entire generation of fight fans.

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Maybe it was something in the Dublin drinking water, or something in his DNA, but not only did “The Notorious” go from stretching welfare checks through training camps to becoming the highest-paid athlete of all time, and one of the most fabled names this sport has ever seen, but he almost made it look easy.

Conor McGregor | UFC Game Changers Series Presented by Draft Kings
Conor McGregor | UFC Game Changers Series Presented by Draft Kings
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“I wasn’t necessarily interested in the fame. I was fighting for a better life,” McGregor said.

A fighter who famously doesn’t leave many questions unanswered, the only question that remains is which version will show up on Saturday when he takes on Dustin Poirier in the culminating fight of their trilogy and storied rivalry.

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In their first meeting in 2014, the famed “Mystic Mac” persona was born when McGregor accurately predicted his first-round TKO victory over Poirier, after engaging in verbal and psychological warfare which heightened during fight week and climaxed inside the Octagon.

In their rematch, just earlier this year on UFC Fight Island, we saw an other-worldly version of the Irishman, engaging in nothing but entirely respectful and sportsmanlike interactions with “The Diamond,” including a public push for Poirier’s charitable efforts.

But as the saying goes, the nice guy finished last inside Etihad Arena, and it’s a mistake the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion doesn’t intend on making again.

“Sometimes you just go through the motions, and you tell yourself things but you don’t execute on them. This time, I took control of it,” the 32-year-old said, alluding to the extra steps he’s taken for this fight camp, including moving his coaches and training partners to southern California where there were no external factors to worry about, and no distractions to grapple with.

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“Thankfully, I can set up gyms and set up homes and set up a quality setup out here, and I can fly everyone in,” McGregor said. “All my sparring partners and my training partners have a home. Myself and my coaches have a home. It’s an army going to and from the gym. We are all here, focused and ready to get that win back.”

Conor McGregor | Throwback Interview
Conor McGregor | Throwback Interview
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As far as the journey that brought him from Dublin to Abu Dhabi, and back to his beloved Las Vegas, McGregor said that the adversity he’s faced this year isn’t all bad; in fact, some of it has been necessary.

“Setbacks are a beautiful thing,” McGregor said to the media during a UFC 264 fight week interview. “Defeat is the secret ingredient to success.”

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Locked away from distractions during his camp and adapting an eerily quiet presence this fight week, McGregor did make it clear that this time, he didn’t come to play nice.

Last time, it was “an honor to share the Octagon with (Poirier).” This time, McGregor sees him as nothing more than “just a face. A dead body.”

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Without getting too far ahead of the task that lies ahead this Saturday, McGregor voiced the big plans he has for the rest of the year, including having his eye on a title fight inside the brand-new Allegiant Stadium, something he plans to “talk about Saturday night.”

But first, of course, he has to get through Dustin Poirier — the only person to hand McGregor a professional mixed martial arts loss by way of knockout.

“Don’t write me off yet. I’ll regroup and adjust. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again.”

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It’s not the first time we’re seeing Conor McGregor on the hunt for redemption, and there’s no way to know if it’ll be the last, but one thing is certain: regardless of which version arrives at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, McGregor will make good on his promise to deliver a show for yet another sold out crowd in the 11th marquee event in his UFC career.