Conor McGregor was downing whiskey 'all bleeding week' before loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov

By Sports Desk January 14, 2020

Conor McGregor has admitted his preparation for fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov in his last UFC outing was far from ideal given he spent "all bleeding week" downing shots of whiskey.

The Irishman fell to a convincing submission defeat against the Russian in the fourth round of their October 2018 battle in the Octagon at UFC 229, a contest that was followed by a controversial brawl.

But ahead of his comeback against Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday, McGregor acknowledged he had enjoyed himself a little too much in the build-up to the Khabib bout, as well as taking part in a reckless sparring routine.

"I was drinking all bleeding fight week in the last one," McGregor told ESPN. 

"Yes [it was before the fight]. It [drinking in fight week] had not been [common] to that extent before. I had venom in me or something. I don't know why.

"I was almost too intense and too serious, working too hard in the gym and then not working hard enough outside of it. You've got to be focused outside. 

"You're not as sharp, not as fresh, not as eager to be there [at the gym]. That kept happening, I wouldn't want to be there, then I'd have to scrap, and then off I'd go again. 

"You learn something from everything, some of the work was great. Some parts of it were enjoyable, I do love a good scrap, I've just got to stay focused outside the gym."

Pressed further on his preparation, the 31-year-old added: "I had people holed up in a hotel and I would ring and arrange a fight, they would come to the gym and have a full-blown fight with no headguards.

"I'd have a war, win and knock the guy out and go off and celebrate and come back in three days.

"I wasn't doing what I should have been doing or living the life I should have been living; I've made mistakes and I've been man enough to admit them and correct them."

On Khabib, who has said McGregor needs a long run of wins before being worthy of a second bout, the Dubliner added: "He has fear, he doesn't want [the rematch]. It did get very personal. Some of the things were maybe too far but it's the fight business."

McGregor has also lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr in a lucrative boxing match since his last victory, which came at UFC 205 against Eddie Alvarez more than three years ago.

Punching a 50-year-old man in a pub last year led to a court appearance and a fine but McGregor says he has turned his life around.

He added: "If I'm in the wrong, I'm in the wrong. I let people down and that's it. I'm in a position where I must take control of things and not shy away.

"I've never done that in my career and I never will; the people who believe in me and support me deserve better. It's been a good couple of months, three or four months ago [since I had a drink]. 

"I might not be perfect, but with a good sleep and a full belly I'm damn close."

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    The judges scored the fight 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 in favour of Jones, but Reyes was furious and said he had been "all over" the champion over the first three rounds.

    UFC president Dana White revealed his children thought Reyes had done enough to get the decision and were plaguing him for answers over why Jones retained his light-heavyweight title.

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    And the 32-year-old American is now undefeated in his last 18 UFC fights, having last lost to Matt Hamill in 2009, when he was disqualified.

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    "He landed some hard hits. The fans like it when they see me get hit - it doesn't happen very often," Jones said.

    "But at the same time, I landed some takedowns. I got his back on more than one occasion. ... A hard-earned victory but a victory."

    He added, according to ESPN: "That's the way to make American history right there: hard-fought.

    "It wasn't the most impressive victory, but nothing, absolutely nothing that has never been done before is easy. It is never easy. I left it all out there, showed the heart of a champion in the fifth round, and it's so sweet."

    Jones, who certainly came on strong in the fourth and fifth rounds, was not in the mood for modesty after confirmation his reign as champion would continue.

    "Obviously, my body is hurting, but this victory is so sweet. This fight helps to put me as one of the greatest American athletes of all time," he said.

    Reyes, a 30-year-old from California who suffered his first loss, took a swipe at the 49-46 verdict against him, insisting that was a false reflection of the match-up.

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    White, watching on, hailed Jones as "the GOAT [greatest of all time], and said he admired how he was finding a way against "these young killers".

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    "My kids are terrorising me that the fix is in," he said. "[They are asking:] 'How does this happen, Dad? Reyes won the fight!'

    "None of us are judges. The judges call the fight, and that's it."

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    Khabib scored a convincing submission victory in their first showdown at UFC 229 in October 2018, a night that was marred by an ugly brawl between the two warring camps in the aftermath of their fight.

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