Conor McGregor says UFC comeback can happen before end of 2019: 'I'll be fighting until the day I go out'

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Former two-division UFC champ Conor McGregor recently found himself in the news for all the wrong reasons once again. A months-old video appeared to show McGregor punching an older man in an altercation in a bar in Ireland.

It was just the latest in a series of legal issues for McGregor that include throwing an equipment dolly at a bus carrying UFC fighters at media day for UFC 223 in April 2018 and smashing a man's phone in Florida leading to strong-armed robbery and criminal mischief charges that were eventually dropped by the alleged victim.

During an interview with ESPN's Ariel Helwani on Thursday night, McGregor immediately addressed the situation in Ireland.

"What can I say?" McGregor said. "It does not matter. There is no answer to what was done. I was completely in the wrong. There's no need to even discuss what began it, what was going on outside, inside -- any of that. I was completely in the wrong; it was unacceptable behavior, and I accept that."

The conversation shifted away from McGregor's legal troubles and to his future in the fight game. McGregor posted a tweet in March stating he had decided to retire from active mixed martial arts competition.

His most recent UFC fight came in October 2018, a submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in a bid to re-capture the UFC lightweight title. That was McGregor's first fight in the UFC in almost two years, though his boxing mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather took place in August 2017.

Speaking about his retirement, McGregor suggested the previous announcement was more of a "back step" as a result of "things that go on behind the scenes."

"I don't think I will ever retire from this game," McGregor said. "Never in my life. I'll be fighting until the day I go out. There's no doubt about it. I mean, it's just the way it is. It's in me. It's bled in me, and I will take it with me to the grave."

McGregor went on to say he was preparing for an Octagon return before he suffered a badly broken hand in camp but believes a return could happen before the end of the year.

"I was preparing for the end of July at Madison Square Garden," McGregor said. "We were getting there in conversation. There was opponents discussed. I did not really mind the opponent. I wanted similarities to Khabib Nurmagomedov, to prepare for that, because he doesn't want to have the rematch, whatever.

"I would say true. I would say we can get that done. ... I'm already in shape; I have not lost my condition. I'm in shape. I just need to sharpen up the grappling. ... I would say so. I would look for that yes, at the end of the year."

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