McGregor Not Alone: MMA Community Cheers for Irishman's Comeback

Diaz, Bisping, Sonnen among others join forces to support McGregor, a surprisingly large unity of UFC fighters

by Sededin Dedovic
McGregor Not Alone: MMA Community Cheers for Irishman's Comeback
© Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

Chael Sonnen, a former UFC fighter and analyst, had a number of words of praise for Conor McGregor, the Irish MMA star. McGregor hasn't fought in nearly three years, since he suffered a serious leg injury against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in July 2021.

After a long rehab, McGregor seems ready to return to the Octagon. The UFC even confirmed that they have a fight planned for him against Michael Chandler, a co-trainer from Ultimate Fighter 31. However, the date of the fight has not yet been officially confirmed.

And in the last few days, McGregor has been the main topic in MMA circles because of his harsh speech towards the UFC and criticism towards the management of this organization. Several of his colleagues have surprisingly bravely supported McGregor, with Nate Diaz and Chael Sonnen being the latest in the line.

In this handout image provided by the UFC, Michael Chandler poses on the scale during the UFC 257 weigh-in at Etihad Arena on UF© Handout / Getty Images

During Daniel Cormier and Chael Sonnen's "Good Guy/Bad Guy" show, the former two-time UFC champion's return was discussed.

Sonnen compared Conor's situation to Chris Weidman, the former middleweight champion, who also returned from a similar injury. Weidman fought for the first time in over two years at UFC 292, losing to Brad Tavares, and will fight Bruno Silva in Atlantic City this month.

Sonnen expressed his belief that McGregor doesn't get enough credit for his courage and determination to return to fighting after a career-threatening injury: "I feel like Conor's not getting a lot of mercy on this," Sonnen said.

"I think because of his interviews and his public persona, we forget that this is a man who was cut in half, and now he's getting back up. And I know guys, Daniel, who think they're fighters, but really they only know aggression - 'I'm going to knock him down, I'm going to beat him up '

That's aggression. A fighter rises when the going gets tough, and that's what Conor McGregor is proving to be, and he deserves credit for that." Sonnen pointed out that many athletes retire after injuries similar to Conor's, and he praised McGregor for not giving up and fighting to get back to the top.

"A lot of people would have backed out in this situation," Sonnen said. "A lot of people would say 'I know I was good, but I can't do it anymore' But Conor McGregor doesn't. He gets up and fights. And that's what makes him a fighter." Sonnen concluded that McGregor's return to fighting is an inspiration to all those facing challenges in life: "Conor McGregor is an inspiration to all of us," Sonnen said.

"He shows us that no matter what happens, no matter how hard it is, we can always get up and fight." In addition to Sonnen, other UFC fighters and analysts expressed admiration for Conor's return. Michael Bisping, the former UFC middleweight champion, said that McGregor is a "true fighter" and that he is "not afraid of anyone".

Dana White, the president of the UFC, expressed his belief that McGregor will come back stronger than ever before. "Conor McGregor is one of the greatest fighters in UFC history," White said. "I am confident that he will come back and be even better than he was before the injury." Conor McGregor has yet to announce the date of his next fight, but is expected to fight in 2024.

His return to the Octagon has generated a lot of interest among MMA fans around the world. Conor did not comment on the support of Bisping and Sonnen, but he is obviously satisfied with the great support he received from Nate Diaz.

Nate Diaz surprised with an olive branch on St. Patrick's Day when he released a message of solidarity for former UFC champion McGregor in response to McGregor growing frustrated with the lack of news on his comeback fight.

Diaz called on the UFC to "free Conor" and expressed empathy for the Irishman's plight.

Nate Diaz (L) and Conor McGregor battle during their welterweight rematch at the UFC 202 event at T-Mobile Arena on August 20, 2© Steve Marcus / Getty Images

"Nate is great.

When you share tough battles like that, and we've had real, real wars, you get that extra respect for each other. That's a real fighter, they're both, those two brothers are real fighters," McGregor said on The MMA Hour. “I've always had the utmost respect for those two guys, and heck, I was a fan of them.

I was their fan, and then I had to share the Octagon with them. And I appreciate that, I appreciate the support. I wish him well, always. I will always want to see past opponents and future opponents to see them hold their own.

What a monumental moment it will be when we finish that fight of the trilogy. So I'm excited about that”. We believe that the "noise" surrounding McGregor's return is not accidental and that the Irishman's new fight could soon be announced. Of course, these are just our assumptions, but it sounds like an introduction to a big match.