Conor McGregor had a few words for TMZ while he jogged around New York City recently, including some support for former opponent Jose Aldo, and a hint that his rumored fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov is almost official.
The shadow of Conor McGregor continues to loom over the UFC. In Calgary over the weekend at UFC on FOX 30, an event he had nothing to do with on the surface, his name was dropped again and again. That three of his former opponents (Jose Aldo, Dustin Poirier, Eddie Alvarez) fought on the card no doubt played a role. And of course, current lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov was there as well, telling anyone and everyone that he wanted to “change his face” in regards to his Irish rival.
McGregor, approached by TMZ recently, had no such harsh words. Instead, he offered words of support for Jose Aldo, his once-vanquished foe.
“I was so happy for him. Honestly, truly happy,” he said of Aldo’s first round TKO of Jeremy Stephens at UFC Calgary. “It’s a crazy business and I know he’s gone through a lot of stuff. So to see him come back with that great finish, I was very happy for him and his coach, Andre Pederneiras. The whole of Ireland was happy for Jose Aldo that night.”
As for his own return, McGregor said it’s close. “Yes, very close. It’s not official, but it’s close.” As to whether it will come in 2018, he stated that “I believe so. I hope so.”
But what about New York City, where McGregor recently accepted a plea deal stemming from his bus attack incident at UFC 223? When it comes to fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov there, the “champ champ” said “I’m pushing for it.”
“You know, I f*cking love New York City,” he added. “To be able to be here, free, a free man, walking around this place. What a city. What a f*cking city!”
But despite earlier saying he was pushing for the lightweight title fight with Nurmagomedov to talk place in New York, it sounds like the date could come a little sooner, in the UFC’s home base in Nevada. “We’ll see what happens. I’d love to fight in the Garden, again,” McGregor finished, “but I believe this one is in Las Vegas.”