In a rare public comment on social media, McGregor (21-4) said he was beaten "fair and square" by Nurmagomedov on Oct. 6 at UFC 229, but he vowed to return stronger than ever. The Irishman has already called for a rematch against Nurmagomedov, but he said Monday that he would accept another opponent if need be.
"It was a great fight and it was my pleasure," McGregor wrote on Instagram. "I will be back with my confidence high. Fully prepared. If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line. It's all me always, anyway. See you soon my fighting fans I love you all."
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Thoughts on my last fight. Round 1. I believe from a sport standpoint, round 1 was his. Top position against the fence. Zero position advancement or damage inflicted. But top position. From a fight standpoint the first round is mine. Actual shots landed and a willingness to engage. Straight left early. Knee to the head on the low shot. Elbows in any and all tie up scenarios. Opponent just holding the legs against the fence for almost the entire round. Round 2 he is running away around the cage before being blessed with a right hand that changed the course of the round, and the fight. It was a nice shot. After the shot I bounced back up to engage instantly, but again he dipped under to disengage. That is the sport and it was a smart move that led to a dominant round, so no issue. Well played. If I stay switched on and give his stand up even a little more respect, that right hand never gets close and we are talking completely different now. I gave his upright fighting no respect in preparation. No specific stand up spars whatsoever. Attacking grapplers/wrestlers only. That won't happen again. I also gave my attacking grappling no respect. To defense minded. Lessons. Listen to nobody but yourself on your skill set. You are the master of your own universe. I am the master of this. I must take my own advice. Round 3. After the worst round of my fighting career, I come back and win this round. Again walking forward, walking him down, and willing to engage. Round 4. My recovery was not where it could have been here. That is my fault. Although winning the early exchanges in 4, he dips under again and I end up in a bad position with over 3 on the clock. I work to regain position and end up upright, with my back to the fence. A stable position. Here however, I made a critical error of abandoning my over hook at this crucial time, exposing the back, and I end up beaten fair and square. What can I say? It was a great fight and it was my pleasure. I will be back with my confidence high. Fully prepared. If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line. It's all me always, anyway. See you soon my fighting fans I love you all ❤
McGregor, 30, returned from a nearly two-year layoff to challenge Nurmagomedov (27-0) for the UFC's lightweight title. He tapped to a neck crank in the fourth round.
In his social media post, McGregor said that a right hand Nurmagomedov was "blessed" with landing in the second round, which briefly dropped him, changed the course of the fight. He admitted to not respecting Nurmagomedov's striking enough and not giving his own grappling enough credit.
"Round 2 he is running away around the cage before being blessed with a right hand that changed the course of the round, and the fight," McGregor said. "It was a nice shot. After the shot I bounced back up to engage instantly, but again he dipped under to disengage. That is the sport and it was a smart move that led to a dominant round, so no issue."
McGregor credited himself for his response in the third round, which he won on the official scorecards. It was the only round Nurmagomedov has lost in his UFC career. McGregor went on to say that he made a "crucial error" in the fourth round that led to the finish.
McGregor and Nurmagomedov are facing possible fines and suspensions from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for their postfight actions at UFC 229. Nurmagomedov left the Octagon to confront McGregor's corner. McGregor was caught on camera throwing punches at members of Nurmagomedov's team in the ensuing chaos.
A rematch would obviously mean big business for the UFC, but president Dana White has been noncommittal on the idea. He told ESPN last week that the UFC will do "what's fair" and mentioned former interim champion Tony Ferguson as potentially the next No. 1 contender.
"I haven't even thought about a [McGregor] rematch," White said. "Obviously, I know Conor wants a rematch. We need to do what's right and what's fair. We'll see how it plays out. We literally haven't thought about it yet.
"... As a fight fan, you've got to go with Tony. Tony had the belt, tweaked his knee, got stripped, this fight happens -- Tony never lost the [interim] belt in a fight. Neither did Conor, but Conor got the opportunity to actually fight [Nurmagomedov]. I think Tony deserves the next shot."